According to Pinizzotto, the IRSG's current mandate is based on:
• Promoting international cooperation and developing initiatives;
• Providing a global forum and platform for the world's rubber sector; and
• Increasing the levels of market transparency and seeking solutions along the value chain.
"The future of both types of rubber lies in developing raw materials tailored more closely to the requirements of the manufacturer and produced to very high standards of technical quality and consistency," he said.
In recent years, the IRSG has placed itself at the forefront of the issue of sustainability in the rubber economy, according to Pinizzotto.
Together with other stakeholders, the IRSG developed the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative, which today has 60 self-registered organizations among its members, he said.
"Since March 2019, IRSG has a wider sustainability agenda that covers both natural and synthetic rubber and the end-of-life products," he said.
The IRSG agenda is based on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which embrace a universal approach based on the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability, Pinizzotto said.
Two important initiatives the IRSG has made in sustainability are the memorandum of understanding it signed with the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber and its letter of intent with the Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Research Program (FTA) of the global agricultural innovation network CGIAR.
"The MOU signed with GPSNR is important because it gives the two organizations the opportunity to work closely together and really drive the natural rubber economy toward a sustainable path," Pinizzotto said.
The letter of intent with the FTA denotes a decision for the two organizations to collaborate on issues related to the sustainability of natural rubber production, with an eye toward joint proposals on resource mobilization, the IRSG said in an announcement at the time the letter was signed.
These are not the only important initiatives the IRSG has launched in collaboration with other organizations, according to Pinizzotto.
One new initiative is #IRSGforResearch, a call for papers for rubber-related economic research, he said.
"This award aims to promote high-quality research on emerging issues in the global rubber sector," Pinizzotto said. "We would like to engage young economists and researchers in the assessment of socio-economic issues affecting the rubber sector globally."
The first-year topic for the award is, "How can rubber smallholders achieve sustainable development through rubber farming?" The deadline for submission of papers is Dec. 13, and the prize for the winner is 3,000 Singapore dollars ($2,180 U.S.), Pinizzotto said.
The IRSG also is into the second year of its Photo Competition. The first-year theme for the competition was "Women in Rubber," and the theme this year is "Rubber is a Community," according to Pinizzotto.
"The photo competition should tell a story or emphasize the concept of a communal life that involves rubber as a source, in its process or as a final product," he said.
The contest is open to everyone, although entrants under 18 must obtain parental consent, Pinizzotto said. Entries are due by Feb. 28, and three prizes of 500, 250 and 100 Singapore dollars ($365, $182.50 and $73 U.S.) will be awarded, he said.