As drivers look for ways to help the planet, Nokian Tyres is leading the tire market when it comes to sustainability.
The Scandinavian premium tire maker works hard to make tires greener: Since 2013, the Nokian Tyres has reduced the rolling resistance of its tires by an average of 8 percent, an amount equal to the exhaust fumes of 65,000 cars.
Rolling resistance refers to the energy lost when the tire is moving during driving. The lower the rolling resistance, the less energy lost or fuel needed. Better fuel efficiency positively affects the environment and lowers the driver’s carbon footprint by reducing CO2 emissions. For electric cars, lower rolling resistance means also longer driving range.
Here’s a powerful example of the impact of rolling resistance: If every resident of Illinois and Michigan used low-rolling-resistance Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 winter tires over the product’s life cycle instead of other premium winter tires, fuel savings would be nearly 80 million gallons and carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by some 710,000 tons.
Transportation accounts for nearly 29 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, larger than any other source, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Companies in the automotive sector are using enhanced fuel efficiency as a key weapon in curbing harmful emissions.
Premium tire manufacturers like Nokian Tyres are actively working to reduce rolling resistance by developing advanced rubber compounds and introducing new innovative tread designs and tire constructions.
“Our engineers work hard to keep up the good work: Our goal is to reduce the rolling resistance of each new tire generation without compromising safety,” said Teppo Huovila, Nokian Tyres’ vice president of quality and sustainability.
Save fuel – and the environment
Over 90 percent of Nokian Tyres’ products are in the best rolling resistance categories A, B or C. To give some perspective: The most common passenger car tire label in the market is in the E category (ETRMA analysis, October 2018). The difference is huge for a car owner – and not just environmentally. A class A summer tire inflated to the correct tire pressure can save nearly a quarter gallon of fuel per 100 miles compared to the lowest-performing tires.
Nokian Tyres has worked for years with sustainability at the core of its business. In the RobecoSAM Sustainability Yearbook 2019 the company received the Silver Class distinction. Although over 85 percent of the carbon footprint of a tire comes from its use, Nokian Tyres continues to work to reduce the environmental impacts of a tire throughout its entire life cycle.
That is why the company is also proud of these achievements:
• In 2018, Nokian Tyres recycled 100 percent of the waste from its flagship factory in Nokia, Finland. Almost 100 percent of used tires are recycled in the Nordic countries and around 95 percent in Europe.
• The company installed a new scrubber at the Nokia energy plant that provides the factory with hot water and steam, and the facility has already saved 185 truckloads of fuel as a result.
• At Nokian Tyres’ factory and head office in Nokia, Finland, about 47 percent of all energy is produced with renewable energy sources. The company has installed solar panels at its North American warehouse in Vermont. Nokian Tyres is planning similar eco-friendly practices at its first North American factory in Dayton, Tennessee, which will begin producing tires for commercial use next year.
• Nokian Tyres joined the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber in March 2019. The GPSNR will work to improve respect for human rights, prevent land-grabbing, protect biodiversity and water resources, improve yields, and increase supply chain transparency and traceability.
•Nokian Tyres’ sustainability follow-up-audits in Malaysia and Indonesia showed improvements in labor rights in 2018 compared to earlier audits. Workers were educated on their rights, worked shorter shifts with more rest days and enjoyed better access to water as they worked, among other quality-of-life enhancements.