USTMA: sustainability and innovation to build the reputation of the tire industry
“The Biden administration is laser-focused on a few issues,” Norberg said, noting climate change; diversity, equity and inclusion issues; and infrastructure, “which can be good and bad.
“Sometimes if you don’t talk about these things … you don’t get the administration’s attention,” she said.
“One of the things we’re working on is how do we recap some of these topics that we’ve been working on for a long time in the industry? How do we tell these stories differently instead of talking about tire performance? talk about it in terms of climate change.
“Everything is a continuum,” Norberg said, noting that tires have an impact on the climate. “We just have to change the words.”
Adjusting the approach, she said USTMA worked with several government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, and secured legislation to promote activities such as RMA and Tire-Derived Aggregates with the Federal Highway Administration.
Currently, she added, the USTMA promotes the retreading of commercial tires.
This could include incentives for companies to use retreads instead of “one and done” imports, at a lower cost.
She said the USTMA and its partners are focusing not only on the value of retreaded commercial tires, but also on their climate impact to meet the legislative milestone.
“Again, it’s about redesigning the way we tell the story to focus on what resonates with decision makers,” she said.
USTMA was “heavily involved” in the Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (HR 3684) enacted on November 15, 2021, Norberg said, securing key industry gains like water management rainwater with RMA; the RMA-eligible Emerging Technologies and Healthy Streets program; increased funding for states renovating infrastructure to minimize environmental impacts; and greater accountability from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration on tire regulations.
These are successes, Norberg said.
And when she looks at what USTMA’s success is, it means the industry and its stakeholders have come together, “to be able to solve the existential challenges, to approach those problems in a way that helps the industry to be sustainable, that we cement the reputation of our industry in that sustainability.”