German manufacturer Continental is the third largest automotive supplier and fourth largest tyre manufacturer in the world, supplying to major brands including Volkswagen, Ford, Volvo, BMW, General Motors, Toyota, Honda and many more globally.
The company was founded in 1871 as a rubber manufacturer, specialising into tyres in response to demand, and developing into the six divisions of Continental today: Chassis and Safety, Powertrain, Interior, Tyres, ContiTech and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems).
Sustainability in automotive part manufacturing
Continental's sustainability efforts are centred around four key focus areas:
- Carbon Neutrality — striving for 100% carbon neutrality along its value chain by 2050 at the latest, and across the entire group by 2040. The company is working towards this by using renewable and recycled materials, promoting the use of green electricity all along the supply chain and expanding its portfolio with emission-free mobility and industry. Since 2020, Continental has been purchasing green electricity for its own operations worldwide and has thereby reduced its own emissions by around 70%.
- Emission-free mobility and industry by 2050.
- Circular economy — working towards 100% closed resource and product cycles by 2050.
- Responsible value chain — 100% responsible sourcing and business partnerships through protecting human and environmental rights in every link along the value chain, from raw materials to production to customers, with the aim of creating added value for society.
"Sustainable business is the future. It is both an expression of an inner attitude and a forward-looking way of thinking,” says Dr. Ariane Reinhart, Member of the Executive Board and Human Relations and Director of Labor Relations, Sustainability at Continental.
“With our ambitious sustainability roadmap, we are decisively pursuing the transformation to a sustainable economy. This is the decisive benchmark for us and for the entire mobility industry."
Using recycled materials to create tyres
Continental is one of the leading developers of sustainable tyres.
The innovative UltraContact NXT tyre uses up to 65% renewable, recycled and mass balance certified materials whilst retaining Continental's safety and performance standards — all 19 sizes carry the highest possible rating (“A”) of the EU tire label in rolling resistance, wet braking, and exterior noise.
Among some of the sustainable elements in the tyres are the recycled steel and recycled rubber material that comes from mechanically processed end-of-life tires that the tyres contain.
The brand also utilises the ContiRe.Tex technology — which can already be found in the UltraContact NXT — that generates high-performance polyester fibres used to reinforce the tire carcass through recycling PET bottles, which otherwise would have ended up in incinerators or landfills
“At Continental, safety, performance, and sustainability go hand in hand. With the UltraContact NXT, we deliver on our ambitious sustainability goals,” says Ferdinand Hoyos, Head of Business Area Replacement Tires EMEA for Continental.
“This development represents a significant leap forward and demonstrates our technological leadership as well as our strong commitment to both sustainability and safety.
“With its impressive performance, the UltraContact NXT pushes sustainability to the NXT level.”
Please also check out our upcoming event - Sustainability LIVE in London at the BDC on Sept 6/7th 2023
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