General Motors has announced an industry-first move to switch to sustainably sourced tyres on its new vehicles as part of an environmental and human rights initiative.
GM announced that it will work with tyre suppliers including Bridgestone, Michelin, and Continental to develop systems to reduce supply chain complexity and allow traceability of sourced materials.
The change comes as part of a move towards net-zero deforestation, with GM supporting its tyre suppliers as they develop sustainable rubber products. A report by the World Wildlife Fund shows that tyre production accounts for 75 percent of the world’s natural rubber market.
That results in widespread deforestation in Southeast Asia, with flow-on effects to local fauna and flora. WWF CEO Carter Roberts put out a call last year encouraging both tyre manufacturers and automakers to join Michelin in moving to sustainable rubber sourcing.
“We want to encourage affordable, safer and cleaner options for our customers that drive value to both our organization and the communities in which we work,” GM senior vice president of global purchasing and supply chain, Steve Keifer said.
“GM sources more than 49 million tires each year, and while we are not the largest user, our volume can have an impact on the direction of industry.”
The move also helps ensure long-term stability in the commodity pricing of natural rubber, in a move to keep production costs at a reasonable level and helping avoid surges in pricing should demand exceed supply.
GM has invited other companies to join its move to sustainable sourcing push in an effort of affect industry-wide change.