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Published on October 22, 2007

Getting 'green' a good idea

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Opinion

AKRON (Oct. 22, 2007) — Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.'s decision to become as environmentally responsible as possible on a corporate basis is something independent tire dealers should consider doing at their own dealerships.


If you believe that global warming is real—or even if you think it only might be happening—then taking an active stance toward this issue is a prudent and responsible course of action.


Long term, this approach also could dramatically reduce your operating costs.


What Yokohama has done is elevate environmental responsibility to a prominent position in the company's corporate strategy. At the same time, it has taken a leadership role by encouraging others to reduce the impact they are making on the environment.


The tire maker has launched a Web site, www.ecotreadsetters.com, that provides regular eco news updates and tips on how anyone can become more environmentally responsible.


In a recent speech to the Tire Society in Akron, Yokohama President Tadanobu Nagumo talked about the company's efforts to become “greener.”


“Considering all the serious issues that we are now facing, we have to take our own approaches to global warming, depletion of energy resources and environmental issues as sincerely and quickly as possible,” he told attendees.


At Tokyo-based Yokohama, this means having all of the company's tire plants certified to ISO 14,000 environmental management standards, reducing CO2 output, installing energy cogeneration systems where feasible, reducing factory waste to zero and developing environmentally friendly products.


Mr. Nagumo is so adamant about eliminating waste at Yokohama, for example, that his agenda for the Tire Society meeting was printed on the back of paper that had been used already.


Tire dealers can begin to effect this kind of change at their own dealerships initially by making it a company priority and then by challenging employees to come up with ways to reduce waste wherever possible, improve energy efficiency and recycle materials.


Employees, possibly even more than the dealership's owner, know where improvements can be made. Having the employees buy into the program makes its success more likely.


It doesn't take too much thought to begin to see where a dealership can reduce its environmental impact. Using more efficient lighting, for example, can cut electricity usage dramatically.


Insulating bay doors is another example, as is reducing idling times for parked vehicles, burning waste motor oil to heat the dealership and recycling paper as well as cans and fluids.


Yokohama views its efforts to become “greener” as a moral responsibility and has set the bar for others to reach. All tire dealers should step up to that challenge. Why? Because environmentally, it's the right thing to do.

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