Cycling is often at the centre of sustainable travel initiatives, with the effects of rising carbon emissions and climate change becoming increasingly worrying every day. But how green is the trade itself? BikeBiz speaks to six brands to find out what they’re doing to be more environmentally friendly. Today, we hear from Sylvie Woroniecki, brand manager, Hutchinson
Sustainability is a key topic here at Hutchinson. We still don’t see enough brands focusing on sustainability as a priority in the new ranges that are released, or in the way we educate end consumers. The good news is that cycling, in general, is green in itself. This is definitely very impactful and important because cycling manufacturers and brands have some influence on other industries, and also the Government; it affects peoples’ attitudes to how they move around. It’s also our responsibility as brands to educate people and to promote a sustainable way of life.
Hutchinson launched the project Green Team last year, which is composed of the top management of Hutchinson, consisting of senior management, R&D and engineers, to work together and to put in place an action plan regarding our business unit. We are now launching a process of analysing the product life cycle, from the beginning to the end, to understand the sources of pollution during the different steps.
If you want to have an impact on sustainability, you have to analyse the whole process from raw materials to transportation, and how you produce in your factory and then what you want to do with the product at the end. The fact that we produce directly in France makes it more local. In terms of transportation of final products, the impact is lower than for products that come from other parts of the world.
There are still different personas and different types of approach to cycling consumption. There are still some people who are attached to the performance aspects of the product. A recent Havas Group study shows that consumers are more demanding towards brands to be transparent about what they do. Consumers know more about how things are done and are willing to pay more for sustainable products. This is something that Hutchinson has seen with its new Gridskin product.
The Gridskin product was made with the idea of lowering the impact of production – to do this, the brand needed to use materials and R&D that made the tyre price a bit higher, but we never had any bad perception of this because people were very interested and very happy with the effort that the brand was making. Nothing can be done just by one brand or by one person. We hope that together, we’ll be able to find a new, sustainable model of functioning that will allow us all to be able to produce in 100 years.