Mission Possible: Sustainable Mobility for All
Filippo Bettini, Chief Sustainability and Risk Governance Officer, Pirelli & C. S.p.A.
Two thousand new people a day in major cities for the next 30 years is a staggering prediction that will see the world population increase by 30 per cent in 2050 as compared to today, exceeding 9.1 billion people. Approximately 70 per cent of that population will live in metropolitan areas. This demographic revolution will have inevitable impacts on the climate in addition to giving rise to social issues.
The population growth and the high concentration in cities will determine an increase of traffic and pollution, creating new and different mobility problems needing to be faced. Mobility will need to be faster and, above all, sustainable in both economic and environmental terms. To understand the actual social and economic impacts, Pirelli has been studying these phenomena for some time and is on the front line of seeking new solutions for the needs and requirements of city dwellers.
The impact on climate deriving from urban and extra-urban mobility has now reached 25 per cent of total global emissions. Unless a concrete CO2 emissions reduction plan is implemented, this number is destined to rise. The situation on the environmental level is already very difficult, to the extent that 300 cities in Europe are planning to close their town centres to private traffic to promote the use of public transport and car sharing solutions and to improve the quality of life of their citizens.
Pirelli, within the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s “Sustainable Mobility Project 2.0”, has teamed up with a number of international institutions and leading corporations to identify solutions for a more sustainable mobility stretching beyond private cars, to include public transport and eco-sustainable vehicles, such as electric cars and bicycles. In the Brazilian city of Campinas, where a Pirelli production plant is located, Pirelli has provided support and expertise to local organisations to conduct a survey among residents aimed at identifying the perceived main mobility issues of the city. The local authorities of Campinas used the survey results to plan bus lanes and promote active mobility solutions, such as cycling lanes, across the city. The Campinas experiment was a pilot project which will be repeated in several cities in Europe and worldwide to promote the collaboration between the private enterprise and public institutions.
“Pirelli’s commitment to sustainable mobility in the broadest possible sense is embedded in all the steps of the tyre manufacturing and distribution process”
Everyday, the company works to make increasingly more sustainable, better performing and safer products. This is because, contrary to popular belief, the stage of the life cycle of a tyre with the highest environmental impact is that of use, not of manufacturing.
Tyres influence the total fuel consumption of a car, mainly through rolling resistance and when a lack of maintenance results in incorrect tyre pressure. For this reason, Pirelli has been working since 2007 to improve products and lower rolling resistance by 20 per cent. The goal is to achieve a 40 per cent reduction by 2020. In practical terms, a reduction like this means saving 14 litres of fuel every 1000 miles driven, with a consequent 42 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions. Reducing rolling resistance, noise and weight, but also increasing durability and re-treading potentials, are the main factors on which Pirelli works day by day to make more Green Performance products. In 2016, Green Performance tyres amounted to 62.9 per cent of all tyre sales, significantly more than double those of 2009, which was the base line year chosen by Pirelli to gauge medium-to-long term sustainability goals. And integrating all this with a strong commitment towards intelligent mobility, Pirelli has created Pirelli Connesso, a system allowing predictive tyre maintenance through an app which informs the driver directly, including the indication of pressure drops.
Management of environmental issues plays a fundamental part in Pirelli’s business strategy. The carbon and water footprints are constantly monitored with the goal of gradually reducing them. In order to obtain these results, Pirelli has set up a control and monitoring system to identify the environmental impact along the entire product life cycle – from raw material extraction and manufacturing, to use and end-of-life procedures – applying the Life Cycle Assessment method:
- During the raw material procurement and extraction stages, Pirelli adopts a careful approach aimed at respecting the environment and biodiversity, with particular focus on the natural rubber supply chain’s sustainability;
- During manufacturing, Pirelli carefully manages the use of water, energy resources and natural resources to contain the environmental impact also by choosing renewable sources;
- For tyre use, Pirelli is working to improve rolling resistance and reduce fuel consumption with consequent lower CO2 emissions;
- During the last phase of the tyre’s life cycle, Pirelli actively collaborates with major organisations on national and international levels to promote the identification and development of solutions aimed at sustainable recovery of end-of-life tyres.
Pirelli’s commitment to protecting the environment has led to reducing its total water use by 7 per cent compared to 2015 and by 46 per cent compared to 2009. The 2020 goal as stated in the “2013-2017 Sustainability Plan With 2020 Vision” is to save 58 per cent of water compared to 2009. With the contribution of all manufacturing plants worldwide, 33 million cubic metres of water have been saved as a whole since 2009: this amount is equal to nearly the total use of the entire Pirelli group for three years. The waste recovery rate increased to 92 per cent during 2016, with a 19 per cent increase with respect to 2009. In this area, the 2020 objective for waste recovery is in excess of 95 per cent. On the environmental level, a reduction of 15 per cent in CO2 emissions was achieved, again with respect to the values of 2009, with an 18 per cent decrease in specific energy consumption.
About the Author
Filippo Bettini is the Chief Sustainability & Risk Governance Officer at Pirelli. He holds a degree in biomechanical engineering from Politecnico of Milan and Master in Business Administration from Bocconi University of Milan. Mr Bettini entered Pirelli in 2008 to manage some of the non-core activities of the Group, while actively cooperating in company portfolio reshaping. He covers current role since 2010. From 2001 to 2008 he worked in the Telecom Italia Group covering roles with increasing responsibility in innovation management until being appointed the Chief Strategy Officer. From 1985 to 2001 Mr Bettini worked in biomedical and biotechnology fields both in multinational companies and academic research centres.
Filippo Bettini is a Board Member of CSR Europe and represents Pirelli at the UN Global Compact Lead and at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He sits on several working groups addressing sustainable mobility programmes. Since 2014 he has been the President of Federazione Gomma Plastica, Confindustria.