Our goal is to manage the environmental impacts of our products throughout their life cycle. We take a comprehensive and systematic approach to environmental aspects in our activities.
The environmental impacts from tyre production include odour, dust emissions, noise, waste, energy consumption and solvent emissions (VOC emissions). The most significant of these impacts are VOC emissions and, locally, odour. We constantly strive to reduce these impacts in the best possible ways: we improve our operations and find efficiencies, track emissions and correct identified deviations. In accordance with our Environmental, Safety and Quality Policy, we aim for zero defects in our environmental, health, safety and quality activities.
We have always considered biodiversity as part of our environmental efforts. We have assessed our factories, test tracks and retreading plants in terms of biodiversity.
Our company has little direct impact on biodiversity. Nevertheless, we make an effort to track and minimise the impact of our operations on our immediate surroundings. In 2017, we carried out environmental reviews for our planned factory in Dayton, Tennessee and test track in Spain in order to minimise our impact on biodiversity in the areas.
We purchase energy for our factory in Nokia from an external supplier. The required energy can be divided into electricity, heating and steam. Renewable energy sources account for approximately 9% of the electricity that we purchase.
We use biomass and natural gas as the energy sources for heating and steam generation. A biomass power plant that supplies our Nokia factory started its full production in April 2016. The new plant reduces the use of fossil fuels – natural gas – in favour of local energy sources in the region.
Our Vsevolozhsk factory uses natural gas as an energy source. We buy the electricity from an external supplier, but use our own power station for the energy required for heating and steam.
Our Energy Savings working group continued its activities in 2017. We clearly met our target of reducing our yearly energy consumption by 1% per production tonne, with an 8% reduction from the previous year.
In November, we organised a campaign for collecting ideas to save energy from our employees in Vsevolozhsk. We received a total of 75 ideas, which we will evaluate for feasibility in early 2018. We will award the people behind the best ideas in the spring of 2018.
An independent company annually measures the nitrogen and sulfur emissions from energy production at our factory in Vsevolozhsk. Our nitrogen and sulfur emissions are below the set emission limits.
We calculate our tyre production GHG emissions from raw material purchasing to the disposal of the product in compliance with the ISO 14064 standard. Our Vsevolozhsk factory uses its own power station for generating most of the energy it needs. Therefore, the factory’s direct GHG emissions exceed those of the factory in Nokia.
We are seeking a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 and a 30% reduction by 2030. The point of reference comprises our 2013 Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions in relation to production. The actual reduction from 2013 was 36% in 2017, which means that we met and clearly exceeded the target. In 2017, our market-based Scope 2 emissions were approximately 33,500 tonnes CO2 eq. The emission calculations are based on Finland's residual mix of electricity production, the emission data provided for us by Nokianvirran Energia and location based emission factor of Russian factory's energy consumption. We could not access market-based (source and/or supplier-specific) emission factors related to our Russian factory.
For our detailed sustainability goals, see the section on sustainability management.
Solvents, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), form our most significant emissions into air. As the legislation concerning VOC emissions is country-specific, our calculation and reporting of VOC emissions varies by country.
In Nokia, we follow the European VOC Directive, which stipulates that emissions are calculated based on the used solvents. We use solvents in our factory only in the production of heavy tyres and retreading material for improving adhesion. The VOCs from retreading material production and the assembly of heavy tyres are collected and conveyed to a catalytic incineration plant. Collecting solvent emissions from the production of heavy tyres poses a challenge. In the production of heavy tyres, it is not possible to seal the emission sources such that all emissions could be collected and conveyed for incineration.
In Nokia, we aim to comply with the total emission limit of the European VOC Directive, which is 25% of the solvents used. In 2017, we improved the collection of solvents in the assembly of heavy tyres, nearly doubling our collection rate. This reduced our total solvent emissions from 45% in 2016 to 38% of used solvents.
No solvents are used in tyre manufacture at Vsevolozhsk. According to the local legislation, emissions are calculated based on emission measurements. VOC emissions are generated due to the raw materials used in the processes.
Particle emissions are caused by the processing of powdery chemicals in our compound mixing department. The mixing equipment is fitted with effective ventilation and dust collection devices, and the best separation rates achieved by water cleaners exceed 99%. We measure particle emissions with particle concentration and differential pressure gauges. In addition, outside experts carry out regular concentration measurements. The measured particle concentrations have complied with the permit limits at both of our 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 that we have commissioned, odour emissions are momentary. The mastication process for softening natural rubber causes discharges of compounds during the precipitation and dehydration phases of rubber milk, which results in an unpleasant odour in the near surroundings. We use droplet separators for reducing the odours from mastication. We have also managed to lower the number of separate mastication processes, thereby reducing the related odours. 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.
In the past two years, our factories have introduced new odour control equipment that represents the best available technology (BAT). In Vsevolozhsk, the technology covers all the mixing lines, whereas in Nokia the technology is being implemented gradually.
In 2017, we were contacted three times concerning odour emissions. In Nokia, we inspected the odour control equipment as a result of these comments. We will decide on corrective actions in the spring of 2018. At the Vsevolozhsk factory, we established an “Odour Panel”, which reports to an environmental expert on any exceptional odours. The purpose is to determine which process stages generate odour and plan ways to improve the situation. The monitoring period continues until spring 2018.
Our production facilities have noise limits subject to their environmental permits. We regularly track and measure noise emissions. According to the measurements, we are below the noise limits.
Our tyre manufacturing processes use large quantities of cooling water. In Nokia, we take cooling water from the nearby Nokianvirta river and discharge it back into the river after use. The Vsevolozhsk factory uses municipal tap water for cooling and then conveys it to a wastewater treatment plant. The cooling water has no contact with production chemicals at any stage and, therefore, does not become contaminated. The wastewater in Vsevolozhsk is conveyed to a treatment plant.
In Nokia, we take annual samples 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 wastewater conveyed into the municipal sewage system and the cooling water discharged into the Nokianvirta river have been practically clean.
The pollutant load of wastewater from the Vsevolozhsk factory has previously exceeded the set limits. We took corrective actions already in 2016 and, in May 2017, we introduced automated wastewater aeration in balancing reservoirs. As a result, the pollutant load has remained below the agreed limits.
We aim to reduce the consumption of municipal water by 25% by 2020 compared to the 2013 baseline. In 2017, our consumption of municipal water (m3/tonne of products) was approximately 40% lower than in 2013.
Our production uses excellent raw materials that contribute to the safety and high quality of our tyres. We are continuously exploring the utilisation of recycled materials but, in general, recycled materials contain impurities that would degrade our products’ safety characteristics. This is why we primarily use virgin raw materials in our production.
Waste is generated both in our actual production and support functions. The generated waste can be roughly divided into three categories: landfill waste or non-recyclable waste, recyclable waste and hazardous waste.
We weigh all production waste and record the department-specific volumes on a monthly basis. For other types of waste, we prepare reports annually. The waste volumes are determined in weighing by waste management companies. We sort the generated waste at our factories in accordance with separate waste management instructions. Most of the production waste is taken directly to be utilised. We store hazardous waste separately at the collection points in containers that carry warning labels.
The utilisation rate of our production waste has been growing for years.
Scrap tyres, or tyres that do not meet our high standards of quality, are taken to recycling directly from production. Non-vulcanised scrap rubber is generated in the production stages preceding vulcanisation, or curing. This material’s reuse applications include impact padding, conveyor belts and other rubber products that do not have as critical material requirements as tyres. Other generated recyclable waste categories include combustible waste, plastics, scrap iron and steel, wood, paper, biodegradable waste, cardboard, glass and electrical and electronic equipment.
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. In 2017, 100% of factory waste in Nokia and 88.7% in Vsevolozhsk was sent to utilisation, so we are heading in the right direction.
We take all hazardous waste to an authorised processing plant. Roughly a quarter of this waste 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.
Our sales companies and Vianor stores always comply with the local regulations. We sort the waste and deliver it for reuse whenever technologically and economically feasible. The most significant environmental impacts of our locations come from waste and energy consumption. In connection with our group’s energy-efficiency audits, we are launching focused assessments in two Vianor service centers in 2018. Furthermore, our sales companies and Vianor service centers pay attention to the efficiency of product transports.
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