For many years now, Continental’s Tire business area has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the area of sustainability and has now bundled all activities and projects in a newly created department under the leadership of Claus Petschick as part of its “Vision 2030” strategy program. As Head of Sustainability, he is responsible since April 1, 2020 for the strategic direction and worldwide steering of all sustainability projects, and in this role reports directly to Christian Kötz, Head of the Tire business area and Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG.
Petschick has worked at Continental for over 30 years, initially holding various positions in R&D and product development for the original equipment (OE) business before assuming the management of the tire plant in Hanover-Stöcken in 2007. Most recently, he was responsible for global quality assurance within the tire sector as Vice President Quality Management for over ten years.
"With the creation of a dedicated sustainability organization under the leadership of Claus Petschick, we are consolidating our far-reaching activities and research projects and underscoring our commitment to further systematic expansion of sustainable business models and innovative products and services along the entire value chain,” explains Kötz. “We are confident that sustainable and responsible management enhances our capacity for innovation and our future viability, and that we can make an important contribution to society and toward shaping our future through our commitment.”
For many years, sustainable and responsible management has been an integral part of Continental’s corporate strategy and development. The focus of the sustainability strategy is on the four strategic topics of climate change mitigation, clean mobility, circular economies, and sustainable supply chains. In order to make the tires of the future even more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly in terms of production, use and recyclability, Continental is systematically investing in the research and development of new technologies, alternative materials, and environmentally compatible production processes.
This includes, for example, the extension of product service life through retreading. Back in 2013, Continental already built the globally unique ContiLifeCycle plant in Hanover, Germany, for this purpose. Here, specially designed machine fleets with integrated retreading systems set new standards in the field of tire recycling.
A further central concern for Continental is to cease importing natural rubber exclusively from the tropics, but to produce it as close as possible to the tire plants in order to prevent the ongoing deforestation and reduce the CO2 emissions generated through long transport routes. In future, the multiple award-winning, long-term Taraxagum project from Continental and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) will supply natural rubber from dandelion plants, which can be used for producing motorcycle, car and commercial vehicle tires. The Urban Taraxagum bicycle tire is Continental’s first series-produced tire manufactured using natural rubber from the dandelion plant.
Continental is committed to sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain and is striving to provide the greatest possible transparency and to establishing a traceable and sustainable supply chain via an electronic system. Continental is also a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), an association of the major players in the natural rubber sector from business and civil society, who are working jointly to improve global sustainability in the natural rubber sector.