Washington – The Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) needs to address a series of shortcomings if it is to start delivering a truly sustainable value-chain for natural rubber, believes Mighty Earth.
The platform, which includes rubber producers, processors, tire makers, and automotive OEs and NGOs, will be a full year in existence in March, noted the environmental lobby group and GPSNR founding member.
However, while there has been some good work and increased cooperation among stakeholders, “much more remains to be done,” according to a 16 Jan statement from the Washington-based group.
In particular, it said, some companies within the GPSNR still do not have internal sustainable rubber policies, while the platform still cannot call out policy violations or monitor the sustainability performance of members.
Moreover, no companies from the world’s largest rubber market, China, currently participate in the GPSNR, the Washington-based group also pointed out.
Meanwhile, it noted, “low rubber prices “create immense challenges for smallholder farmers, or even larger companies, to invest in new systems, technologies and practices for improving the sustainability of rubber cultivation.”
Mighty Earth ‘s vision for 2020 is to see all of these issues addressed and for GPSNR members to increase traceability and transparency on the origins and sustainability of their natural rubber.
The natural rubber industry should move “towards binding, fair, effective regulation that creates a level playing field,” emphasised the environmental group.
This should be one “where forward-looking companies are not penalised by having to compete with rogue actors who don’t respect the environment or human rights."