ROME, Ga. — Pirelli Tire North America Inc. is claiming it soon will be the first tire company to produce a range of tires certified under Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) guidelines covering sustainable production methods.
The FSC-certified tires, versions of the Pirelli P Zero high-performance range, will be supplied to BMW North America Inc. for fitment on the plug-in hybrid version of the car maker's X5 xDrive45e sport-activity vehicle.
These tires, to be produced exclusively at Pirelli's U.S. factory in Rome, contain FSC-certified natural rubber and rayon and represent a new horizon for increasingly sustainable tire production.
FSC certification confirms that plantations are managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring economic viability, Pirelli said.
The complex FSC chain-of-custody certification process verifies that FSC-certified material has been identified and separated from non-certified material as it makes its way along the supply chain, from the plantations to the tire manufacturer.
BMW will use the FSC-certified P Zeros in size 275/35 R22 for the front axle and 315/30 R22 size for the rear.
The X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3-liter in-line 6-cylinder gasoline engine combined with the fourth generation of BMW's "eDrive" technology. The plug-in hybrid drive's power is rated at 290 kW/394 hp along with a maximum system torque of 600 Nm and an electrically powered driving range of 48 to 55 miles.
BMW Group conducted a full-cycle CO2 certification for the BMW X5 xDrive45e from raw material procurement, the supply chain, manufacturing and the use phase, all the way to recycling, Pirelli said.
This P Zero developed for this model was engineered according to Pirelli's "perfect fit" strategy, meeting the performance needs of the German car maker while contributing to the "green" philosophy of this hybrid vehicle.
The new tire also is designed for low rolling resistance (scoring "A" on the European tire label) and reduced noise levels.
Giovanni Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli's senior vice president for sustainability and future mobility, noted that sustainable mobility begins with raw materials, and this development with BMW demonstrates Pirelli's "commitment to pursuing increasingly challenging goals in terms of sustainability, a testament to the constant work on innovative materials and increasingly cutting-edge production processes."
Andreas Wendt, a BMW A.G. board member responsible for purchasing and supplier network, said: "The use of tires made of certified natural rubber is a pioneering achievement for our industry. In this way, we are helping preserve biodiversity and forests to counteract climate change."
Jeremy Harrison, chief markets officer, FSC International, added: "The new FSC-certified Pirelli tire is a significant milestone in the drive to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits across the natural rubber value chain; this is particularly important in the context of natural rubber's sustainability challenges.
"We congratulate Pirelli for their commitment to responsible sourcing and for demonstrating that a transparent value chain is possible for natural rubber from smallholders to the market. We also applaud BMW for supporting the development of the FSC-certified tire and for choosing it to equip one of their new models."
Mr. Harrison called this development a "major step forward in the journey towards a more sustainable natural rubber value chain, thereby helping to mitigate deforestation and support the fight against climate change."