Setting an example, promoting ecological awareness and drawing attention to the numerous environmental problems – since the first United Nations World Environment Summit in Stockholm in 1972, each year, on June 5, is the official World Environment Day. This international day of action is intended as a reminder that humanity itself holds the key to preserving the diversity and stability of the environment. In order to inform its employees about the responsible use of resources in their daily lives, Continental has been encouraging mindful awareness of environmental topics at all tyre locations worldwide since 2013 with its annual Energy & Environment Days (EE Days). This internal initiative focuses on energy efficiency, water conservation, and the efficient use of natural resources to prevent waste.
“We understand sustainable business is our responsibility and are convinced that the contribution of each individual is important to enable Continental to be the most progressive tyre company in terms of environmental and social responsibility by 2030,” explains Claus Petschick, Head of Sustainability of the Tires business area at Continental. He adds, “The Energy & Environment Days are an important internal platform for us to highlight and honour our strategic initiatives, achievements, and the personal contribution we make to achieving our environmental goals locally.”
The Energy & Environment Days of Continental’s Tires business are dedicated to a specific focus topic each year. The aim is to encourage the commitment and knowledge of employees as well as to highlight the importance of environmental protection. In 2021, the EE Days will be held under the motto “Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Electricity.” In this way, Continental aims to highlight the various options for energy-efficient heating and cooling and to draw attention to the effects of climate change.
By focusing on environmentally relevant topics such as energy and water consumption, CO2 emissions, waste reduction, and increasing the recycling rate, the EE Days support important areas of the premium tyre manufacturer’s comprehensive sustainability strategy. Continental aims to achieve 100 percent carbon-neutrality along its entire value chain by 2050 at the latest. As a result of years of hard work, today Continental already consumes 55 percent less water and 17 percent less energy than the industry average per metric ton of tyres produced. By 2030, the aim is to achieve savings of an additional 20 percent in each case.
Solar powered plants make a significant contribution to electricity production for tyre plants
The Tires business area is already an industry leader in the efficient and sustainable use of water and energy. For example, Continental has been operating photovoltaic systems at its plants in Gqeberha (formerly Port Elisabeth, South Africa), Camacari (Brazil), Hanover (Germany), and Modipuram (India) for several years. In 2014, the tyre plant in Hefei (China) was also equipped with solar panels with a capacity of 6.1 megawatts and expanded to 13.9 megawatts in June 2020. Around 13 million kilowatt hours of green electricity can be generated here annually. This corresponds to a reduction in carbon emissions of 12,000 tons per year. In purely mathematical terms, this would have required the planting of 780,000 trees to offset these CO2 savings. Solar panels were also installed at the tyre plant in Rayong, Thailand, in February 2021 on two plant buildings, a parking garage and a water retention pond, with a total area of 27,400 square meters and a total output of 4.2 megawatts. Since then, carbon emissions there have been reduced by 319 tons. The individual Continental sites are therefore already making a decisive contribution to fulfilling the climate protection strategy, which aims to operate in a carbon-neutral manner throughout the entire value chain.
2022: Continental’s zero-emission mobility business worldwide to become completely carbon-neutral
With the “Carbon Neutral for Emission Free Vehicles” program, Continental will also make its global business for emission-free cars, buses, trains and other vehicles climate-neutral from 2022. The neutralisation of CO2 emissions will be achieved in the first instance by generating equal amounts of so-called negative emissions. To this end, all emissions generated in the sourcing and supply of raw materials or materials, in the company’s own production, and in recycling at the end of life will be neutralised to the same extent.
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