Akron, Ohio — Goodyear is adopting a natural rubber (NR) procurement policy that it said will help address problems with deforestation, land grabbing and abridgment of human rights in countries where NR is grown.
"We know our actions can make a difference in protecting the rights of people throughout the supply chain, including the smallholders who grow natural rubber on their own land," said Maureen Thune, vice president and chief procurement officer.
The new policy builds on Goodyear's Business Conduct Manual and Supplier Code of Conduct, the company said. It introduces seven principles designed to guide the development of a long-term, sustainable NR supply chain:
- Working to ensure the supply chain protects the rights of all involved;
- Promoting an environmentally and socially responsible NR supply chain free from deforestation and land grabbing;
- Promoting practices that lead to the traceability of NR throughout the supply chain;
- Urging rubber processors to act in a responsible, environmentally friendly manner;
- Encouraging suppliers to use the best cultivation practices;
- Working to increase yields and improve the livelihoods of existing smallholders; and
- Commitment to the corruption-free and transparent implementations of this policy and its principles.
The new policy is effective immediately and covers the entire supply chain, including smallholders, industrial plantations, intermediate dealers/consolidators, processors, trading companies and Goodyear itself.
Goodyear is a member of the Tire Industry Project (TIP), a CEO-led initiative made up of the world's leading 11 tire companies.
TIP works with key stakeholders, including auto makers, rubber producers and civil society, to develop an industry platform for NR sustainability, it said.
Goodyear believes the multi-stakeholder collaboration "is the key to the development of a unified industry platform," Thune said.
"Together, we are exploring best practices for responsible sourcing and identifying appropriate governance structures for the platform, all with the goal of making sustainable natural rubber a reality."
TIP operates under the umbrella of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Goodyear is the sixth major global tire maker to announce publicly a sustainable NR-sourcing policy. Others are: Bridgestone Corp; Continental AG; Group Michelin; Pirelli & C. SpA; and Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd.