HANOVER, Germany — Continental A.G. is stepping up its sustainability efforts with the appointment of service provider Eco Vadis Inc. to "conduct continuous sustainability evaluation" of suppliers to its tire and rubber operations.
While the evaluation will cover all existing and potential suppliers, the focus will be on "most important raw material suppliers and service providers for freight and capital expenditure," said Nikolai Setzer, head of Conti's Tire Division.
"In corporate purchasing…we want to send a strong signal for sustainable practices within the entire supply chain, particularly for the Rubber Group, as the majority of the raw materials are sourced within the Rubber Group," said Mr. Setzer, who also is in charge of corporate purchasing at Continental.
Mr. Setzer said a special project for analyzing sustainability in the delivery chain of natural rubber is in preparation as part of the initiative.
"This lighthouse project involves both the tire and ContiTech divisions. Its purpose is to enable the tracking of the delivery chain, from the rubber cultivators up to our production, together with selected existing suppliers," Mr. Setzer explained.
The Conti executive went on to explain that the purpose of the project is to both avoid further destruction of the rainforests and improve the overall income situation of the rubber cultivators.
"We are just in the beginning of our project," a Conti spokesman said. "Core will be to set up a traceability tool for tracing back from rubber factory to single farmers. Training of farmers will be also a very important part of the project."
Asked if Conti had entered into environmental practices in cooperation with international organizations, the spokesman said the company has no partnerships with such organizations but is in "frequent contact" with the World Wildlife Fund.