Environmental impacts of production
We aim at managing the environmental impacts of our products over their entire life cycle and addressing the environmental aspects of our operations in a comprehensive and systematic manner.
The environmental impacts caused by the production of tyres include odour, solvent and dust emissions, noise, waste and consumption of energy. The most significant of these impacts are waste and, locally, odour. Solvent emissions (i.e. VOC emissions) are also a significant impact of the Nokia plant. We aim to reduce these impacts in the best possible way. For example, we track emission volumes, improve our operation and find efficiencies and address any problems that we find. In line with our quality and sustainability principles, we aim for zero errors in all EHSQ aspects.
We document the annual environmental impacts of our tyre factories and report them to the authorities as required in each country. We record all feedback and take the necessary corrective actions. We quickly assess and respond to all complaints and address them as required. Our goal is to take care of environmental aspects so effectively that people have no cause for complaints or comments. In 2016, our factory in Nokia did not receive any environmental complaints. However, our factory in Russia received four complaints concerning odour emissions.
Environmental impacts of our factories in Nokia and Russia
Taking biodiversity into account
We have always considered biodiversity as part of our environmental aspects. We have assessed our factories, test tracks and retreading plants in terms of biodiversity. Although our operations have little direct effect on biodiversity, we intend to continue taking the biodiversity of our surroundings into account.
The Nokian Tyres’ purchased energy can be divided into electricity, heating and steam. We buy the energy for our factory in Nokia from an external supplier. Renewable energy sources account for approximately 40% of the electricity that we purchase. We use bioenergy and natural gas as the energy source for heating and steam generation. Our Vsevolozhsk factory uses natural gas as an energy source. We buy the electricity from an external supplier and use our own power station for the energy needed for heating and steam.
A biomass power plant that supplies our Nokia factory started its full production in April 2016. The new power plant primarily uses local wood-based fuels, such as wood chips and peat. The boiler is also suited for burning fibre clay and sludge from the Nokia paper mill. The new plant reduces the use of fossil fuels, i.e. natural gas, in favour of local energy sources in the region. With our investment in the biomass plant, the proportion of renewable energy sources will grow up to approximately 50%.
Our Energy Savings workgroup continued working in 2016. We did not meet our target of reducing our yearly energy consumption per production tonne by 1% due to the lower production volume and production idling in Nokia.
Vianor’s energy rating is good for the environment and the budget
Vianor’s Real Estate Manager Jarkko Haavisto is happy to present the energy rating system, implemented in 2012 for reducing energy consumption in all group-owned Vianor outlets.
– We have seen some good results: in the past five years, we have improved the average rating of our outlets by one star, which means a 20% improvement in energy consumption. The star rating works on a scale from one to five, and we are now near four stars.
Like many great ideas, this one grew out of a genuine need. Vianor outlets have undergone regular audits in terms of safety and housekeeping, for example, but there was no tool for tracking outlets’ energy consumption. Jarkko had the idea of tracking energy consumption based on heating, electricity consumption and water consumption. It was first implemented in Finland, and later in Sweden and Norway.
– The outlets have welcomed the rating system, and we have been able to implement significant improvements. The star rating helps communication and makes it easy for the personnel to see whether the outlet is doing well or if there is any need for improvement. Furthermore, we love healthy competition with each other, which drives our outlets to achieve even better results.
The rating system has also helped identify deviations. For example, if an outlet’s energy consumption is significantly high, further investigation may uncover an underlying issue.
– Addressing these issues saves energy. For example, old lease agreements may have outdated energy provisions. Now, we only equip new facilities with remote controlled doors. If the outdoor temperature is –20 degrees, the difference with the +20 degrees indoors is 40 degrees. Keeping a door open costs €90 per hour with the current price of district heating. This reduces the environmental impact and may also save thousands of euros annually, which is a significant sum for small outlets, both financially and in terms of employee satisfaction. The benefits are obvious.
Cost-efficiency is also good for the environment. Even though the number of Vianor outlets varies each year, our aim is to reduce the relative energy consumption by 10% in the next five years.
Emissions from energy production
At our factory in Vsevolozhsk, an independent company annually measures the nitrogen and sulfur emissions from energy production. Our nitrogen and sulfur emissions are below the set emission limits.
Carbon dioxide (CO₂)
In 2016, we updated our CO2 calculator for tyre production to include the so-called Scope 3 emissions. We calculate our greenhouse gas emissions according to the ISO14064 guidelines from the purchasing of raw materials to the disposal of the product. The calculator is now used annually for determining these emissions. Our Vsevolozhsk factory uses its own power station for generating most of the energy it needs. Therefore, its direct greenhouse gas emissions exceed those of the factory in Nokia.
In 2016, we updated our targets for reducing CO2 emissions. We intend to achieve a 20% reduction in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2020 and a 30% reduction by 2030 compared to the 2013 baseline. For our specific sustainability goals, see the section on managing sustainability in our company.
Volatile Organic Compounds, VOC
Solvents, or volatile organic compounds (VOC), form the most significant emissions into air. Solvents are used in the production of heavy tyres and treads for improving adhesion. As of 2012, no solvents are used in the production of passenger car tyres. The VOCs from tread production and the assembly of heavy tyres are collected and conveyed to an incineration plant.
In 2016, the solvent emissions amounted to 52.3 tonnes, equalling 1.2 kg/tonne of products. The company aims at compliance with the total emission limit according to the EU’s VOC Directive, i.e. 25% of the solvents used. In 2016, however, our emissions amounted to 45%, which exceeded the emission limit of the directive. Collecting solvent emissions from the production of heavy tyres poses a challenge. In the production of heavy tyres, it is not possible to close all emissions sources such that all emissions can be collected and conveyed to the incineration plant. During 2017, we will continue working on the collection of solvents in the assembly of heavy tyres in order to reach the directive’s solvent limit.
Particle emissions (dust)
Particle emissions are caused by the processing of powdery chemicals in the compound mixing department. The mixing equipment is fitted with effective ventilation and dust collection devices. The best separating rates achieved by water cleaners exceed 99%. We measure particle emissions with particle concentration and differential pressure gauges. In addition, external experts carry out concentration measurements on a regular basis. The measured particle concentrations have complied with the permit limits at both factories. The dust that passes through the filter system mainly causes an aesthetic inconvenience and poses no harm to the environment or health.
According to surveys commissioned by Nokian Tyres, odour emissions are momentary. The mastication process for softening natural rubber causes discharges of compounds generated during the precipitation and dehydration phases of rubber milk, which results in an unpleasant odour in the near surroundings. We use droplet separators in order to reduce the odours from mastication. We have also managed to reduce odours by decreasing the number of separate mastication processes. Some odours are generated during the tyre curing process. The quantity of the curing fumes released in the process is directly proportional to the amount of cured rubber. The concentrations of individual substances in the fumes are very small.
According to a dispersion modelling of odour emissions in Nokia, the percentage of odour hours in a year is 5–10% in the neighbourhood eastward from the factory. In summer 2016, the compound mixing department commissioned new odour control equipment, which represents the best available technique (BAT). It provides odour elimination for two mixing lines. According to measurements, the equipment eliminates approximately 60% of the collected odour. In the future, the technology will be expanded to other lines in Nokia and Vsevolozhsk based on the experience gained with the equipment.
Our production facilities have noise limits subject to their environmental permits. We regularly track and measure noise emissions. According to the measurements made, we are below the noise limits.
Water and wastewater
In 2016, we assessed our factories’ water risks with the Water Risk Filter tool by the WWF. The assessment indicates that our water risks are not significant. Moreover, in our factory locations, there is no water shortage and the bodies of water are fairly clean.
Tyre manufacturing processes use large quantities of cooling water. The Vsevolozhsk factories use municipal water for cooling. The Nokia factory takes cooling water from the nearby Nokianvirta river and discharges it back into the river after use. The cooling water has no contact with production chemicals at any stage. It is, therefore, not contaminated when it returns to the river. Wastewater from the factory is conveyed to the municipal treatment plant of the town of Nokia. The Vsevolozhsk factory has undergone several improvements in order to comply with the concentration limits in the factory’s wastewater. In 2017, we will conduct follow-up measurements and use them as the basis for any further actions for reducing the concentrations.
We take samples annually from the cooling water discharged into the river and from the wastewater conveyed to the municipal treatment plant in order to verify the water quality. The sanitation water pumped into the municipal sewerage system and the cooling water discharged into the Nokianvirta river have been practically clean. We aim to reduce the consumption of municipal water by 25% by 2020 compared to the 2013 baseline.
Our production uses premium raw materials that contribute to the safety and high quality of our tyres. We are also continuously exploring the utilisation of recycled materials but, in general, recycled materials contain impurities that would degrade our products’ safety characteristics. We, therefore, primarily use virgin raw materials in our production.
Waste is generated both in the actual production and support functions. We weigh all production waste and log the volumes in a monthly record. Other waste is logged in yearly reports. The waste volumes are weighed by waste management companies. The generated waste is sorted at the factories according to separate waste management instructions. Most of the production waste is taken directly to utilisation. Hazardous waste is stored separately in collection points in containers carrying warning labels. The generated waste can be roughly divided into three categories: landfill waste or non-recycled waste, recycled waste and hazardous waste.
The utilisation rate of our production waste has been growing for years.
Scrap tyres – tyres that do not meet high standards of quality – are taken to recycling directly from production. In Finland this is handled by Finnish Tyre Recycling Ltd. and in Russia by three partner companies. Non-vulcanised scrap rubber is generated in the production stages preceding vulcanisation or curing. Its re-use applications include rubber products with non-critical material requirements, such as impact padding and conveyor belts.
Other recycled waste includes combustible waste, plastics, scrap iron and steel, wood, paper and cardboard and, in Finland, also biodegradable waste, glass and electrical and electronic waste.
Mixed waste that cannot be utilised or recycled is taken to a landfill. We aim to further reduce the amount of landfill waste by sending the waste that we generate to recycling and utilisation. Our goal for 2020 is that no waste generated in production is taken to a landfill.
All hazardous waste is taken to an authorised processing plant. Roughly one fourth of this is seal oil from compound mixing machines, whose consumption is directly proportional to the manufactured rubber compound volumes. All hazardous waste generated in our Nokia factory is utilised for energy or as materials.
|Total waste by disposal method|
|Nokia + Vsevolozhsk|
|Recovery as energy||596||3.8||677||5.3||830||5.9|
|Incineration (mass burn)||54||0.3||0||0.0||128||0.9|
Environmental costs comprise the expenses and investments that are related to air, soil and water protection, waste management, management of environmental aspects and noise reduction. The graph below presents our environmental administration costs, emission processing costs and the paid monetary compensation in relation to environmental permits and legislation. In early 2015, we separated our environmental and safety administration. Therefore, the environmental administration costs were lower in 2015 and 2016.
In 2016, our factory in Vsevolozhsk was issued a fine of approximately €128,000 for exceeding the emission limit in wastewater.
Our sales companies and Vianor outlets comply with the local laws and regulations. Waste is sorted and delivered for reuse whenever technologically and economically feasible. The most significant environmental impacts of our locations are formed by waste and energy consumption. In relation with energy-efficiency audits in the group, we have planned to conduct a focused energy consumption assessment in one Vianor outlet in 2017. In addition, our sales companies and Vianor outlets pay attention to the efficiency of product transportation.