AKRON — Green isn´t Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.´s corporate color, but the company is taking on a decidedly green hue thanks to the efforts of President Tadanobu Nagumo, who has made ecological issues a cornerstone of the firm´s corporate strategy.
"Considering all the serious issues that we are now facing, we have to take our own approaches to global warming, depletion of energy resources and environmental issues as sincerely and quickly as possible," Nagumo told attendees at the 26th annual Tire Society gathering Sept. 25 in Akron.
He said the company´s vision "is to assert world-class strengths in technologies for protecting the environment. This is the most important responsibility for those who are willing to expand in global overseas markets."
Nagumo, who became president of Yokohama Rubber in 2004, has made ecology a cornerstone of the firm´s Grand Design 100 management plan for the coming decade.
That plan calls for the company to improve operating income about fourfold while doubling sales by 2017, the firm´s centennial year.
As part of that plan, Yokohama Rubber is working to get all of its plants globally certified according to ISO 14000, reduce carbon dioxide output measurably, install energy cogeneration systems where feasible, reduce factory waste to zero and launch products — both tire and non-tire — that "exemplify environmental virtues."
Within the firm´s corporate framework, these efforts are called "Eco-Motion."
Two specific projects Nagumo mentioned were the company´s work on Porous Elastic Road Surfaces, which use silica bonding with ground rubber to lower road noise by up to 10 decibels, and a new scrap rubber processing technology that will enable Yokohama Rubber to use recycled rubber in new tires beginning this year.
"We´re continuously developing our manufacturing and technology to help the environment," according to Nagumo.
"Additionally we´re devoting our wholehearted energies into our R&D activities to provide environmentally friendly products with high added value," he said.