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Continental tracks rubber supply chain to verify responsible sourcing

Published December 7, 2022

KORBACH, Germany (BRAIN) — Continental Tires teamed with a digital tracking platform to develop a technology to verify the origin of responsibly sourced natural rubber at every stage of the supply chain leading to the customer.

Security Matters, the tracking platform developer, specializes in digital tracking by using unalterable chemical-based barcode technology. Continental said it intends to use the marker substance on a large scale in its rubber products.

Continental said by 2050 at the latest, all of its materials in tire production will originate from responsible sources. The company also wants to achieve full climate-neutrality along its entire value chain.

"We see huge potential in marker technology," said Claus Petschick, Continental's sustainability chief. "In the future, it will help us to ensure that the natural rubber we use in our tires is grown and sourced entirely responsibly. Over the long term, we believe that marker technology could help to make the sometimes highly complex processes in our supply chains more transparent and verifiable. With Security Matters, we have an innovative partner for the development and trialing of marker technology by our side."

In the field test, the marker substance underwent and passed a resilience test, with it being added to responsibly grown latex during harvesting. Continental said it withstood not only the intensive preparations involved in the production of natural rubber but also the tire manufacturing process itself.

In the manufactured tire, the data was retrieved using special, purpose-built software and a reader. The appearance and performance of a bicycle tire containing the invisible marker — such as grip, rolling resistance, and wear behavior — remained unchanged.

"Together with Continental, SMX will use marker, reader, and digital technology to further improve the transparency of the natural rubber supply chain and enable sustainability and circularity," said SMX CEO Haggai Alon.

Continental and Security Matters are members of the industry initiative Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, which connects key players from business and civil society in the natural rubber sector. As members, they work to improve global sustainability in the natural rubber sector.

Topics associated with this article: DEI and Sustainability

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