The circular economy is built into the Michelin Group’s DNA
On April 3, Florent Menegaux, the Group’s Senior Executive Vice President, inaugurated an exhibition on the circular economy at Michelin’s historic Clermont-Ferrand site. It was the perfect occasion to reaffirm the Group’s commitment to the issue.
The circular economy is an integral part of how the Michelin Group designs its products, develops its services and views its overall responsibility to the environment.
What does “circular economy” mean exactly?
The circular economy refers to creating value in all areas and stages (production, manufacturing, uses, etc.) for as many people as possible while using the fewest natural resources. “The circular economy is built into the Group’s DNA,” says Menegaux. “Since the beginning, Michelin has designed products and services with sustainable mobility in mind. It’s simply what we do.”
Combining sustainable mobility and long-term performance
“That’s why we work hard today on what we call long-term performance to fight programmed obsolescence,” explains Menegaux. “Not only is it now crucial to integrate sustainable mobility into everything we do, but we must give our customers all the benefits of Michelin’s engineering skills and expertise for the entire lifespan of the products we sell,” he says.
Promoting more sustainable mobility
At Michelin, we believe in driving sustainable mobility in the right direction, not fighting it. How do we do this? By offering products that use fewer resources, from inception to the end of their life, to minimize their environmental impact while also ensuring our customers get top-notch performance from our products!
The 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Renew
Our commitment is reflected in an approach based on the four principles of the circular economy: the 4Rs.
R for Reduce
Designing tires that require fewer raw materials and less energy and that last longer: this means they produce less CO2 and our customers do not have to replace them as often.
R for Reuse
Repairing, reprofiling or replacing tire tread means a smaller carbon footprint while ensuring customer safety.
R for Recycle
Collecting worn-out tires to recycle them. Investing in R&D to find solutions for new products that perform better.
R for Renew
Because raw materials are not unlimited, a quarter of what we use comes from renewable resources. For example, we have restored more than 116,000 acres of forests and agroforestry areas through reforestation efforts in Asia and South America.
While our 4Rs approach applies to our product and service offer, the scope of the circular economy cuts across all our processes and operations, from drawing up specifications to choosing materials and production methods.
The circular economy as a driver of growth
The circular economy is a major strategic priority for Michelin today. Menegaux emphasizes that “in the future, I’m sure our customers will see the difference between sustainable products and services and all others.” He predicts that “the long-term success of a company will soon be judged by its ability to manage the sustainability of its offers over the long term. That’s why this priority comes with two imperatives for Michelin: first, to stay consistent with our mission - to helping ensure progress for humanity - and second, to ensure our continued success.”
The 4Rs: A recognized approach
Michelin’s approach to the circular economy has already been recognized. In 2016, Michelin received the Circular Economy Grand Prize for its retreading offers and fleet services (Reuse) as well as the special mention “Fighting climate change” from the Environment and Business Awards (Prix Environnement et Entreprises) held by the French government.
Michelin also regularly teams up with public and private partners to bolster innovation for products that are increasingly “circular.” Since 2014, Michelin has been a member of the “Circular Economy 100” program and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which leads joint circular economy projects and works to identify conditions to encourage their adoption.
Finally, Michelin puts all its weight behind positive initiatives around the world and promoting tangible actions. This long-standing commitment dates back to 1998 with the former Michelin Challenge Bibendum, now known as Movin’On. In the past 20 years, this world summit has become the leading global promoter of sustainable development.
Find out more
About Michelin’s commitment to the circular econmy:
Once again this year, the circular economy will be the focus of MOVIN’ON, which will be held in Montreal from May 30 to June 1. Some 4,000 leaders hailing from more than 30 countries and working in academics, politics, business, cities and start-ups will meet to discuss ideas, expertise and experiences to move “from ambition to action,” the theme for this year’s event.