By Mike Torpey on 2021-05-19 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
BMW shows its rubber
THE BMW Group is stepping up its activities in the field of sustainability.
It is becoming the first automotive manufacturer worldwide to equip its cars with tyres using certified sustainable natural rubber and rayon, a wood-based material used to strengthen the tyres.
The company will source 22-inch tyres in the first instance exclusively from Pirelli and, from August this year, will use them in the BMW X5 xDrive45e Plug-in-Hybrid model.
BMW board member Dr Andreas Wendt said: "As a premium manufacturer, we aspire to lead the way in sustainability and take responsibility.
"We have been committed to improving cultivation of natural rubber and increasing transparency in the supplier network since 2015.
"The use of tyres made of certified natural rubber is a pioneering achievement for our industry. In this way, we are helping preserve biodiversity and forests to counteract climate change."
About six million small farmers worldwide are responsible for over 80 per cent of the world's natural rubber cultivation and in the so-called rubber belt across the tropical regions, they run farms of between one and two hectares in.
By far the largest share of natural rubber grown worldwide goes into tyre production, natural rubber's high elasticity and sturdiness making it irreplaceable for tyre production.
The new 22-inch P ZERO star tyre has now become the world's first to receive the sought-after Forest Stewardship Council label.
To earn this certification, Pirelli adapted its US plant in Rome, Georgia, to produce tyres using FSC-certified natural rubber and rayon.
From there, the tyres are delivered to BMW Group Plant Spartanburg, around 370km away, and mounted on the BMW X5 Plug-in Hybrid.
Jeremy Harrison, chief markets officer for FSC International, added: "The new FSC-certified Pirelli Tyre is a significant milestone in the drive to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits across the natural rubber value chain.
"This is a major step forward in the journey towards a more sustainable natural rubber value chain, thereby helping to mitigate deforestation and support the fight against climate change."
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