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COP21 - Interview B. Bonhomme - "Offering more performance with less materials and better energy efficiency"

Michelin Group Sustainable Development Director

COP21 - Interview B. Bonhomme

There are nearly 800 million vehicles in the world today and the figure could double by 2030! What mobility issues will we face tomorrow?

For this sort of growth to be achieved responsibly, a number of conditions must be met:

  • the energy requirement of vehicles should be strongly reduced;
  • We must rduce the volume of fossil fuels and energy obtained from fossil fuels (coal, oil, etc.), to be gradually replaced by renewable energy;
  • We must make greater use of intermodal transport, i.e. the use of more than one mode of transport for a journey (planes, boats, metros, buses, etc.), in order to obtain solutions less energy-consuming and polluting;
  • We must shorten supply chains and production chains.

Most importantly, this growth must be anticipated, planned and supported. This is the direction taken by the negotiators of the COP21 who, for the first time, actively integrated the transport industry in their work.

Will it still be possible in the future to keep increasing performances with less raw materials, or using more sustainable resources?

Today, between 20 and 40% of the materials (depending on the type of tire) that make up a tire come from rubber plantations, so are totally natural. The other components are from synthetic origin. You should know that natural and synthetic materials don’t always have the same physical and chemical performances. So we need to keep the 2 materials to preserve the performance and safety of tires.

For the other components, our researchers are developing organic materials to replace those from fossil fuels. We are also working on other levers, such as the weight of the tire. From 2010 to 2014, the weight of Michelin’s passenger car tires decreased by 2%, lowering their CO2 emissions by 13%.

Thanks to the efforts made by teams and those which are coming, the Michelin Group has the ambition to reduce by 20% between 2010 and 2013 the carbon impact of the use of its tires while improving significantly the industrial and logistical environmental footprint of the Group.

For many years now, Michelin has been taking steps to shrink its environmental footprint. How are Michelin group employees involved today in tackling climate issues?

The Michelin Group employees have been tackling these issues for a long time! Recall that Michelin launched the first tire with low fuel consumption, commonly called “green tire” in 1992, 3 years before the 1st COP held in Berlin. Now, we are in the 6th generation of green tires and each new generation always helps to reduce further fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions induced by tires.

Since 2002, our Michelin Group has a sustainable development department called PRM (Michelin Performance and Responsibility), which sets high social and societal objectives for the Group.

Finally, Michelin mobilizes its employees and partners on environmental issues through training that raised awareness of more than 95,000 employees worldwide to the protection of the environment.