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Material topics - what people expect from us

In 2018, we conducted a sustainability survey, where our most important internal and external stakeholder groups defined their individual material topics and risks and opportunities in Nokian Tyres sustainability. Nine topics were selected as material for us.

Our material topics are combined from our stakeholder’s views and our sustainability team’s analysis. The topics are also based on risks and opportunities comments that are received in the survey that was conducted in 2018.

1. Responsibility in material choices and promoting the circular economy

Our company pays attention to the environmental aspects in addition to safety already when buying raw materials and designing our products. We work continuously toward reducing tire noise as well as rolling resistance. Natural materials and safe, eco-friendly products that reduce fuel consumption, harmful emissions, and rolling noise will also pave the way for us in the future.

Biodiversity is important for us, as all the raw materials for our products come from nature. Harm to biodiversity can result in the shortage of some raw materials. We also care about maintaining the biodiversity of our local environments and preserving endangered species.
With the global water shortage, we also want to reduce water consumption in our production. Tire production uses large quantities of cooling water: our factory in Finland takes the cooling water from the nearby river and our factory in Russia uses a closed recirculating cooling water system that minimizes water consumption.

Quantitatively, waste accounts for our highest environmental impact. Our factory in Finland utilizes all of the generated waste. The local infrastructure in Russia is not yet on par with our facilities in Finland. We are working toward improving the safety of the waste management in our Russian factory. Our goal is for all of the waste to also be utilized in our Russian factory by 2020.

2. Continuous development of the road safety of tires

Product safety is the most important special area of sustainability with regard to our company as well as our customers and end users.

The development and functional testing of tires’ safety characteristics requires constant effort. Extreme weather phenomena caused by climate change and varying road conditions increase the importance of safe tires and drive the demand for all-season and all-weather tires.
As a leading manufacturer of studded and non-studded winter tires, we have a special responsibility for making transportation better and safer. We are responding to the changing needs by developing a more comprehensive range of non-studded winter tires and all-season tires.

3. Fighting global warming: reducing the rolling resistance of tires

The most significant environmental impacts during the use of a tire are caused by the vehicle’s fuel consumption. Lower fuel consumption reduces the quantities of greenhouse gases released into the air. Tires with low rolling resistance can save fuel, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

Through determined product development efforts, we have managed to reduce the rolling resistance of our tires, and our current product line includes several products with the EU tyre label’s best class A rolling resistance rating. We are continuing our work on further reducing our tires’ rolling resistance.

4. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all operations -Use of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency

We see the regulations established by the authorities as the minimum requirements. Therefore, we actively follow the development of environmental and safety regulations in Finland, the EU and Russia for anticipating the effects of the pending legislation.

Climate change is accelerated by greenhouse gas emissions, which are an essential issue for companies around the world. We are committed to reducing GHG emissions from our operations in order to combat climate change. We annually calculate the GHG emissions from our operations, including emissions from the transport of raw materials to us, and aim to reduce them systematically as planned.

Furthermore, an EC directive requires corporations to carry out energy audits and other energy-efficiency measures. By increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources, we can reduce our GHG emissions from energy consumption.

5. Human rights in the supply chain

Wherever we conduct business, we follow the local laws and regulations as well as good Western business practices and the local customs. In addition to the law, our operations must follow the Group’s internal rules and guidelines. We respect the privacy of our personnel, and we handle personal data in line with this principle.

Employment in our Group is based on employment contracts in accordance with the local legislation and any collective agreements. Nokian
Tyres’ wages are always equal to or above the local statutory minimum wage. We respect our employees’ right to organize and we cooperate with the appointed representatives of trade unions.

Through our commitment to our Code of Conduct, local legislation and external social responsibilities, we ensure equal opportunities for all of our employees and promote fair and equal treatment at each of our locations.

6. Risk management and good governance

Nokian Tyres’ business across the Group is guided by the ethical principles presented in the board-approved Code of Conduct, which was revised in 2018. The document specifies the principles for Nokian Tyres’ business, instructions for various ethical issues and a procedure for all Group personnel. Furthermore, the document discusses the enforcement and supervision of the rules.

While local and international documents provide additional instructions, the Code of Conduct establishes a strong foundation and we expect all employees to follow them. This ensures conducting ethical business at all levels of our operations.

An eLearning-course on all aspects of the Code of Conduct and the anti-corruption guidelines will be implemented on all personnel, including top management in 2019.

We follow the law in letter and spirit in every country of operation. Our Code of Conduct provides every employee with instructions on what to do in case they see something in our operation that may conflict with the applicable legislation.

As a public company, Nokian Tyres is bound by the statutory requirements and the rules of the stock exchange on the publicity of information, which is relevant to the company’s business. In order to meet our stakeholders’ expectations, we follow the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative framework.

We are a member of various industrial and employer organizations. Our participation depends on the current topics and our opportunities to offer our expertise. We are also a member of various communities and organizations that participate in the development of the legislation and political decision-making.

For us, the most important organizations are:

  • Chemical Industry Federation of Finland 
  • Rubber Manufacturers’ Association of Finland 
  • National automotive and tire industry associations in various countries 
  • ETRMA/European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association 
  • ETRTO/European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization 
  • STRO/Scandinavian Tire and Rim Organization 
  • Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce 
  • International Chamber of Commerce 
  • Russian Tyre Manufacturers Association 
  • AEB (Association of European Businesses) 
  • AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce in Russia) 
  • Tampere Business Campus 
  • Corporate Responsibility Network FIBS

Nokian Tyres is not involved in political activities, fundraising, or political contributions as per our Code of Conduct.

In addition to trade associations, Nokian Tyres participates in the activities of various non-profits and charities. We also offer expert services for communities free of charge. For example, in Finland we produce various training materials on occupational safety for the rubber and tire industry together with the Centre for Occupational Safety.

7. Responsible and ethical purchasing policies

As a participant in the UN Global Compact initiative, we follow the UNGC’s ethical principles as well as our own, which also address the issues of responsibility in the supply chain.

We require all of our raw material suppliers to adhere to our Supplier Code of Conduct. All of the raw material suppliers must, at a minimum, have an ISO 9001 -certified quality management system in place. We also prefer suppliers with an ISO 14001-certified environmental
management system.

One of the basic raw materials of tires is natural rubber. As an agricultural product, it is the livelihood of many families living in countries where the local legislation and working conditions have not been fully developed. We only purchase natural rubber from processors that we have approved. We supervise their activities through audits, among other things.

You can read more of our audits here.

8. High level of safety and health at work

The health, safety, and well-being of our employees and partners are important for everyone at Nokian Tyres. We are committed to arranging a safe working environment for our employees and partners and ensuring that they get to go home healthy every day. Every accident can be prevented, and we are working toward a workplace with zero accidents. Through better working conditions and providing training for our personnel and partners, we are continuously aiming to improve workplace safety.

Our company develops and maintains a company culture that promotes fair and equal treatment and respect.

Everyone contributes to our profitable growth and success regardless of their position. All of our employees have the opportunity and means to influence their own work and the working environment. Our inventiveness program is one way to support leadership and the active participation of our personnel in line with our company culture.

Producing safe and high-quality products requires a high level of professional competence. With the automation of the industrial environment, the work is becoming even more demanding. This emphasizes the need for the professional development of employees. In addition, development opportunities improve job satisfaction. 

9. Profitable growth and indirect economic impacts

We focus our production on core products with a good margin and invest in measures for continuously improving quality, productivity, and logistics. Profitable growth requires that we continuously expand our capacity, and we invest in new production capacity according to our growth targets and the development of the market. Better productivity supports profitability that, in turn, enables higher salaries or dividends for our stakeholders, for example.

As an internationally expanding company, our impact on our surroundings is increasing and we continue to be a significant job creator and developer of local infrastructure. We support the development of local communities and the improvement of working conditions early on in our value chain, when possible.

In industrial operations, the positive development of productivity is a prerequisite for a company’s success. In tire manufacture, capacity utilization is crucial in terms of productivity: the higher the capacity utilization is, the better the productivity becomes. The automation of machinery and process improvements also contribute to better productivity.

Our indicator for measuring production efficiency is kg/effort-hour.