Pirelli Tire North America will be the first company in the world to manufacture a tire certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The tires, designed for a BMW electric car, will be produced exclusively at the company’s factory in Rome, Georgia.

The Forest Stewardship Council has been promoting sustainable forest growth management for more than two decades. It uses science and seeks to bring together experts from environmental circles to work with others across a broad economic and social spectrum.

The Pirelli P Zero tire will be original equipment on the BMW X5 xDrive45e Plug-in Hybrid vehicle.

The vehicle is manufactured at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which recently added close to 120 people to produce the battery for the new vehicle.

Maureen Kline, Pirelli vice president for public affairs and sustainability, said the company is extremely happy to be the first factory in the world to receive such certification.

The designation essentially means that Pirelli’s rubber is sourced in a manner that protects the integrity of the forests where the rubber is grown and does not lead to deforestation.

Most of the natural rubber is grown in primarily in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. It also means that the forest plantation owners and workers are able to earn a living wage.

The certification includes every step along the process, from harvesting the rubber to producing the tires.

“It sounds like a niche thing, but it’s the way of the future,” Kline said.

Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with sustainability, she said, and they want to be able to follow the evolution of new vehicles to make sure they are manufactured in environmentally sensitive ways.

P Zero tires were designed and engineered to improve fuel efficiency, therefore reducing emissions which also benefit the environment.

Pirelli is also one of the original companies that bought into the global platform for sustainable natural rubber in 2018.

“We celebrate the sustainability leadership shown in this case and look forward to driving a wider transformation across the industry” said Jeremy Harrison, chief markets officer, FSC International, in a press release.

The first of the new FSC certified tires is expected to roll off the production line at the Pirelli Rome plant early next month.

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