SINGAPORE—The General Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber has established a framework that supports its member companies' multi-pronged approaches to sustainability and created a new membership category for smallholder producers of natural rubber. Both were approved during the General Assembly meeting, hosted virtually Sept. 23.
The move to include smallholders in GPSNR members reinforces the shared responsibility of working toward a more sustainable industry. This year, the group has welcomed 28 smallholder members from seven rubber-producing countries.
GPSNR, in a news release, noted that 85 percent of the world's natural rubber is produced by smallholders, making them key players in the overall transformation of the industry.
"Smallholders are a crucial link in the natural rubber value chain, and they have a key role to play in driving awareness on-the-ground and setting the global agenda for sustainable natural rubber" GPSNR Director Stefano Savi said in a statement.
The framework established Sept. 23 guides member companies' sustainability commitments through natural rubber purchasing policies from economic, environmental and social perspectives. Based on the 12 Principals of Sustainable Natural Rubber, it does so through over-arching themes including legal compliance, community livelihoods, functioning ecosystems (such as no deforestation) and respect for human rights.
"This is a tremendous milestone for the Platform and for the natural rubber industry," Savi said in a statement. "In just under two years, GPSNR members developed and approved concrete policy commitments for companies to integrate into their sustainable natural rubber policies. Today, and despite the challenges we all faced during this global pandemic, GPSNR members send a signal to the world about their commitment to achieving a fair, equitable and environmentally sound future."
GSPNR member companies account for about half of the global natural rubber volume, and includes 14 tire makers.
GPSNR was established in 2017 as an offshoot of the Tire Industry Project of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Its mission is to lead improvements in the socio-economic and environmental performance of the natural rubber value chain.