Environment group finds ‘gaps’ in tire brands’ sustainability reporting
7 Mar 2022
Conservation charity ZSL assesses world’s “most influential” NR companies, including leading tire and glove brands
London – Leading consumers of natural rubber, including major tire and gloves companies, have significant gaps in terms of sustainability reporting, according to recent research by the conservation charity The Zoological Society London (ZSL).
In a review of 30 companies, ZSL found that 62% had a ‘clear public commitment’ to zero-deforestation.
However, only 10%, i.e. three companies, publicly reported “some evidence of monitoring deforestation and/or ecosystem conservation in supplier operations,” said the study, published 1 March.
The report, which used companies' openly available sustainability transparency data, also revealed that rubber manufacturers scored higher than producers and processors, with an average of 42% compared to 37%.
Michelin, assessed as a producer, processor and manufacturer of natural rubber, scored highest of all with nearly 82%.
In addition, the research showed only 14% of companies committed to trace “all rubber sourced from smallholders” back to the place of origin by a target year.
Meanwhile, 5% of manufacturers and traders publicly reported the percentage of their supply from third party processing facilities traceable to smallholders at the jurisdictional level.
“This freely available data highlights a significant challenge for the sector - a lack of traceability of natural rubber from smallholders who produce around 85% of the world’s natural rubber,” said the ZSL.
The report shows "the rubber industry’s wide gap between policy and action," said Amy Smith of World Wildlif Fund (WWF) in the US, commenting on the findings of the study.
According to Smith, the EU and the US are introducing new legislation that will require companies to know the origin of their natural rubber.
“They must understand where their natural rubber comes from and demonstrate it did not result in deforestation or human rights violations,” he added.
Commenting on the results of the report, Stefano Savi, director of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), said he was glad to see GPSNR members “performing well.”
“I think there is room for improvement, and it is good that GPSNR will have reporting requirements for members from this year,” he added.
The ZSL study included thirteen leading rubber manufacturers including Michelin, Pirelli and Top Glove, as well as other producers and processors.