The Pirelli Group environmental strategy

Management of environmental issues has always played a key role in business strategy at Pirelli. Indeed, by having a long-term perspective, which is the first priority of sustainability, Pirelli has always considered control over the environmental impact of its own industrial activity to be fundamental.

Given the intrinsic complexity of managing the reduction of its own environmental impact with targets that are contextualised only in specific parts of the tyre life cycle, the Group has implemented a control system that can display, analyse, decide and manage all of its own activities, with a 360° view. This makes it possible to identify the materiality of the impacts and, therefore, the consequent action plans. In accordance with the target set in its Industrial Plan, in 2013 Pirelli has calculated the carbon footprint and water footprint of its entire organisation.

The infographic illustrated on the following pages aims to give a unified and comprehensive view of the Pirelli approach to environmental management, which aims at reducing its impact on resources, the climate and ecosystems. It may be read both horizontally, following the phases of the tyre life cycle one by one, and vertically. This offers the possibility of grasping all the qualitative and quantitative elements related to each individual phase in the life cycle.

These life cycle phases have been analysed by using the Life Cycle Assessment, as defined by the ISO 14040 family of standards. This latter method is capable of validating the results and strategic decisions related to it as objectively as possible. Moreover, reporting of the emissions impacts also complies with the provisions of the GHG Protocol GRI-G4 Guidelines. All those impacts that are listed by the standard but that are not mentioned, both upstream and downstream from the industrial activity of Pirelli, are not applicable or are not material. Moreover, the Pirelli calculation model uses the ISO-TS 14067 technical specification and the draft ISO-DIS 14046 to determine its carbon footprint and water footprint, respectively.

In the upper part of the infographic, the drivers that exert pressure on the environment show how two principal actors alternate at Pirelli, the suppliers and the customers. The principal impact is generated at every stage by different types of activity. In the case of raw materials, their production and distribution – and so the natural resources consumed with this aim – are discussed. In the case of tyre manufacturing, the discussion focuses on the consumption of electric power and natural gas. The greatest amount of environmental pressure has to be attributed to these energy sources, and specifically in terms of atmospheric emissions and water consumption. In the case of distribution of new tyres and their use by customers, the environmental impact results from vehicle fuel consumption. In the specific case of customers, only the fuel consumption related to the power absorbed by the rolling resistance of the tyres themselves is allocated. Finally, in the last considered phase of life, the impact deriving from the preparation of end-of-life tyres for recovery in the form of energy or recycled raw material is calculated.

In regard to the carbon footprint, the drivers category also contains the breakdown of emissions in the three scope categories in relation to the GHG Protocol principles.

The central part of the infographic shows the actual quantification, in percentage terms, of the carbon and water footprint. These two aspects are summarised by four principal indicators: Primary Energy Demand (PED), Global Warming Potential (GWP), Blue Water Consumption (BWC) and Eutrophication Potential (EP).

The values are managed in terms of GJ of energy, tons of CO2, cubic metres of water and kilograms of equivalent phosphates.

The Primary Energy Demand (PED) refers to the quantity of energy that is taken directly from the hydrosphere, the atmosphere or the geosphere, be it renewable or non-renewable energy.

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) refers to the effect of anthropic activities on the climate, and is calculated in tons of CO2 equivalent. This means that the potential greenhouse effect is given in relation to CO2. The calculation assumed that the CO2 would stay in the atmosphere for 100 years.






Blue Water Consumption (BWC) is given by the volume of consumed surface and underground water in consequence of the production of a good or service.

Consumption refers to the fresh water used and then evaporated or incorporated in the product.

The Eutrophication Potential (EP) is the enrichment of nutrients in a specific aquatic or terrestrial ecosystem.

Air pollution, water emissions and agricultural fertilizers all contribute to eutrophication. The result in aquatic systems is accelerated growth of algae, which does not allow sunlight to pass beyond the surface of water basins. This reduces photosynthesis and thus reduces the production of oxygen. Low concentrations of oxygen may cause mass death of fish and anaerobic decomposition of organic material, seriously compromising the entire ecosystem.

Consistently with the product environmental footprint, as already shown in the sustainability reports for the previous years, the tyre use phase is the most significant one for each of the four indicators.

The environmental materiality deriving from this type of analysis, which would logically lead to concentrating all actions on improvement of the product characteristics that determine the use phase, flanks economic materiality. The latter is identified on the basis of different management elements such as, for example, the amount of corporate spending and thus the level of opportunity in reducing and avoiding costs, as in the case of investments in energy efficiency.

In its response strategy, which may be consulted in the lower part of the infographic and corresponding to what has also been stated in the Industrial Plan, Pirelli has adopted adequate management models for monitoring and managing environmental issues, and has also voluntarily adopted specific targets to reduce its impact in each phase of the product life cycle.

All the models, projects and targets mentioned above and indicated in the infographic are discussed in the continuation of this chapter.