Continental’s tire plant in Lousado, Portugal, received the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS. The company states this internationally recognized certification confirms its compliance with special sustainability standards at its Lousado plant and also attests to transparency regarding the traceability of the raw materials used in the production processes. By certifying the raw materials, Continental said it can ensure complete traceability of materials from sustainable sources. Continental adds this represents yet another important milestone along the road toward 100% sustainable materials in the premium manufacturer’s tire products by 2050 at the latest.
In Lousado, Continental produces the UltraContact NXT, which has a share of up to 65 percent renewable, recycled and mass balance certified materials. Up to 28% of these are accounted for by ISCC PLUS-certified materials, such as synthetic rubber made from biobutadiene or industrial carbon black, parts of which are produced from circular oil.
The subject of the certification was the processes for the mass balance of raw materials. In the mass balance approach, fossil, renewable and recycled raw materials are mixed in existing systems and processes. Their quantities are tracked along the value chain and allocated to one or more initial products. The company said the mass balance approach enables Continental to successively increase the proportion of sustainable materials in its products. It ensures that the proportion of certified sustainable materials can be precisely reported in the balance sheet.
The UltraContact NXT is the first series tire for which Continental uses mass balance certified materials, for example, synthetic rubber made from bio-based and bio-circular raw materials or industrial carbon black, which is produced in parts from circular oil. In the production of synthetic rubber, butadiene derived from petroleum can be replaced by bio-based and bio-circular raw materials, thus enabling even more environmentally friendly tire production, the company said. Pyrolysis of end of life tires recovers oil, gas and carbon, among other things. The resulting oil is already being used for the production of industrial carbon black.
ISCC PLUS is an internationally recognized voluntary certification system and applies to the bio- and circular economy and certifies non-conventional raw materials that can be used in, for example, food, feed, chemicals, plastics, packaging and textiles. The various criteria required for ISCC PLUS certification include traceability of raw materials, meeting environmental standards, protecting ecosystems, ensuring compliance with labor and human rights and promoting sustainable economic development.
Continental said it is also working intensively to switch as many raw materials as possible in production to sustainable materials. Raw materials that could be used in tire production in the future include agricultural waste such as the ash from rice husks, rubber from dandelions, recycled rubber or PET bottles.
At the site in Lousado tires for passenger cars, agricultural machinery and off-road vehicles are produced. With a history in Portugal dating back more than 30 years, the company said it is a dependable partner that values its history but is also committed to innovation in both tire manufacturing and automotive technology.