SINGAPORE —- A dozen of leading tire makers have aligned their natural-rubber (NR) procurement policies with the policy framework of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) over recent weeks, the Singapore-based group disclosed Sept. 24.
The tire makers are: Apollo Tyres Ltd.; Bridgestone Corp.; Continental A.G.; Goodyear; Hankook Tire & Technology Ltd.; Kumho Tire Co. Inc.; Michelin Group; Nokian Tyres P.L.C.; Pirelli & C. S.p.A.; Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.; Toyo Tire Corp.; and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.
Separately, Giti Tire Pte. Ltd., the Singapore-headquartered company with manufacturing capacities in Indonesia and China, reported recently it had joined the GPSNR.
As part of the commitment, the companies' policies now feature major components such as commitment to legal compliance; healthy functioning ecosystems; respecting human rights; community livelihoods; increased production efficiency; supply chain assessment and traceability, monitoring and reporting.
"These commitments will help improve the quality of life of the NR cultivators, upgrade the quality of NR and minimize environmental impact," Hankook Tire President and CEO Sooil Lee said.
Edouard de Rostolan, Michelin's NR sustainability manager, said the "risk-based approach and the continuous improvement model" of the policy framework will help the GPSNR achieve its mission of "creating impacts on the ground in order to enhance the sustainability of the industry as a whole."
The GPSNR is working on implementing a guidance document and baseline reporting requirements in order to ensure the committed companies have enough support in implementing the policies.
"All GPSNR members are required to align with the policy framework, and it is heartening to see companies follow through with the process," Director Stefano Savi said.
The platform, he added, is expecting "many others to follow suit in the next few weeks."
In a prepared statement, Giti said: "As a global tire manufacturer, Giti … has a longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability worldwide. We … look forward to contributing to the organization's critical mission of ensuring a sustainable, ethically produced natural rubber supply for the future."
According to the GPSNR, the policy framework—once adopted by all members—will bring an estimated 13.6 million acres of land used for rubber production under the purview of sustainability commitments such as healthy functioning ecosystems and human rights.
It also will impact 3 million smallholders positively, GPSNR said, adding the platform represents half of the world's NR production and consumption.
The GPSNR—which describes itself as an international, multistakeholder, voluntary membership organization, with a mission to lead improvements in the socioeconomic and environmental performance of the natural rubber value chain—has posted links to the policy framework and published policies of Apollo, Continental, Hankook, Michelin, Nokian, Pirelli, Sumitomo, Toyo and Yokohama on its site.
There are 18 tire companies listed as belong to the GPSNR. Other companies' policies will be published shortly, the entity said.