KYOTO, Japan — The CEOs of 11 leading tire companies agreed this week at a meeting in Kyoto of the Tire Industry Project (TIP) to continue funding research into the impact of tire and road wear particles (TRWP) on the environment in light of a new study on the subject published recently.
The TIP is a global CEO-led initiative of leading tire companies to research potential human health and environmental impacts of tires throughout their lifecycle. TIP operates under the umbrella of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and is co-chaired by Bridgestone Corp., Goodyear and Group Michelin.
The research into TRWP over the next two years will include numerous projects studying the issue, TIP said, including extended sampling of TRWP presence in different environmental compartments (air, rivers, soil, estuaries), analyzing the degradation of TRWP, modelling TRWP fate in the environment and investigating the potential health impacts on organisms from long-term exposure to TRWP.
In agreeing to fund the research, the TIP CEOs said they recognized the significance of a 2019 study, "Evaluation of Tire Wear Contribution to PM2.5 in Urban Environments," published by the Environmental Research Group at King's College, London.
That study demonstrated that TRWP are a minor contributor to airborne particulate in three major cities.
Representing approximately 65% of the world's tire manufacturing capacity, TIP member CEOs meet biennially to review project progress and approve a two-year work plan, which is reviewed by an Assurance Group of independent scientists, who provide guidance on the scientific relevance and robustness of planned work.
In their review of the 2018-19 work program, the CEOs commended TIP on the launch of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), an independent multi-stakeholder platform created to lead improvements in the socioeconomic and environmental performance of the natural rubber value chain.
The CEOs also approved publication of an updated TIP global state of knowledge report on the management of end-of-life tires (ELT), and a 2019 edition of the TIP report on environmental key performance indicators for tire manufacturing, noting overall improvement in TIP member performance.
The publication of a Product Category Rule (PCR) for tires was noted for its contribution to improve standardization and transparency in tire lifecycle environmental impact assessment.
TIP will continue to report on the environmental performance of the manufacturing operations of its members and will see an evolution of its work on ELT to include dialogue with stakeholders toward an improved understanding of opportunities for more sustainable ELT management.
In the field of tire materials research, the TIP members agreed to continue evaluating chemicals used in tire making for any potential human health or environmental impacts and will contribute to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines on the safe development and use of nanomaterials throughout the tire lifecycle.
The TIP members also agreed to study the opportunity to develop a WBCSD Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Sector Roadmap, which would include suggestions for how the sector can maximize its potential to contribute to achieving the SDG agenda through business solutions, including building upon its 15 years of accomplishments.