Brussels – As the EU heads of state finally agree on a Covid-19 recovery plan, environmental campaign group Mighty Earth has called for a revival of the tire & rubber industry in line with the European Green Deal.
In a 21 July letter, Mighty Earth CEO Glen Hurowitz called for all post Covid-19 EU bailout and recovery support for EU-based tire and rubber and automotive companies to be conditional to meeting environmental and human rights standards.
“Land-grabbing is widespread in the sector, and we are finding companies are using the Covid-19 lockdown as a cover to seize and clear land while nobody appears to be watching,” his letter to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen claimed.
However, the Mighty Earth CEO did not give any details or evidence of involvement by companies in the tire, rubber or automotive industries in such practices.
Hurowitz went on to call for all EU-based companies that rely on rubber in their products to be legally bound by environmental and human rights conditions when accessing EU recovery support.
“Insisting on green conditions is possible: Air France-KLM was required to halve emissions, cut short-haul flights, and use more sustainable aviation fuel by 2024 to qualify for bailouts,” he said.
However, the Mighty Earth leader said, few other bailouts to the transport sector have set conditions on carbon emissions or deforestation.
Amongst its recommendations, Mighty Earth said all companies receiving bailout funds should be committed to achieving net zero carbon neutrality by 2025.
In addition, it suggested, all tire, rubber and automotive companies should have clear ‘zero deforestation’ and ‘fire-free’ sourcing policies for natural rubber.
In terms of human rights, Mighty Earth asked the EU to grant bailout support to companies that are committed to ILO Core Conventions, which include human rights commitments on health & safety, freedom of association, gender equity and child labour.