With 184 million tires produced and 69 production facilities in 18 countries, we are committed to reducing the environmental footprint of our plants and offices.
To drive continuous improvement, the environmental performance of Group facilities has to be measured as a whole. That’s why in 2005, the Michelin site Environmental Footprint (MEF) indicator was defined to measure the six environmental performance criteria deemed to be the most important for meeting the Group’s medium-term challenges: water and energy consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, total weight of waste produced and total weight of waste sent to a landfill.
Since 2005, the Group has steadily reduced the environmental impact of its facilities by tracking MEF performance quarter by quarter. After the initial target of a 20% reduction by 2011 compared with 2005 was met in 2008, a new target of a 35% reduction by 2015 was set, still compared with 2005.
Progress continued in 2011, with a reduction in MEF of more than 4%, in line with the plan. In particular, there was a significant improvement in energy use, with a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions, and sustained progress in reducing VOC emissions.
The following table shows the performance of the six MEF components since 2005.
Michelin has worked to eliminate VOC emissions by finding solutions to eliminate solvent, establishing best practices. The known best practices within the company have been identified and used throughout all the zones, globally. In the United States, capture and control of emission sources combined with destruction in boilers or stand-alone control equipment is required at most Michelin plants and is regulated by both state and federal agencies. These requirements are in place to ensure levels of VOC emissions are consistent with meeting local standards of air pollution. As Michelin moves toward the elimination of solvent and minimizing VOC emissions from the facilities, these practices are in place, tracked, and reported on. Compliance with these standards is a priority.
VOC emissions declined by more than 5% to 6 lbs per ton of finished product in 2011, which saw sustained deployment of innovative new production processes designed to use fewer solvents and therefore emit fewer VOCs.
The following chart illustrates the major 78% decrease in solvent use by the European Passenger Car and Light Truck tire manufacturing operations since the reduction project was implemented in 1992.
Our priority in terms of waste management consists in reducing the quantity of waste sent to landfill by favoring recycling. Scrap rubber, textile plies and metallic plies used to manufacture tires are the main waste products generated by our activities. We reintroduce these waste products as much as possible into our manufacturing processes, in compliance with our quality requirements.
Programs to reduce the total weight of landfilled waste were pursued in 2011, when gross weight of waste generated per ton of tires produced remained unchanged at 240 lbs and the weight of landfilled waste declined to less than 22 lbs per ton of tires. In all, since 2005, the weight of waste generated per ton of tires produced has been reduced by 22% to 240 lbs from 308 lbs and the weight of landfilled waste has fallen by 72% to 20 lbs from 73 lbs.
Over the 2005-2015 period, Michelin remains committed to reducing the weight of generated waste by 30% and of landfilled waste by 95%.