Members of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) recently convened at the organization’s annual General Assembly, which saw the approval of a new sustainability policy framework and the creation of a new membership category for smallholder producers of natural rubber.
According to GPSNR, the policy framework will help member companies, who account for almost 50% of global natural rubber production volume, to establish or update strong supply chain sustainability commitments through their natural rubber purchasing policies, on all aspects of sustainability, be they economic, environmental or social.
Modeled around the Platform’s 12 Principles of Sustainable Natural Rubber, the new policy framework sets out eight overarching themes that include commitments to legal compliance; community livelihoods; healthy, functioning ecosystems (including no deforestation); and respecting all human rights.
“This is a tremendous milestone for the Platform and for the natural rubber industry. In just under two years, GPSNR members developed and approved concrete policy commitments for companies to integrate into their sustainable natural rubber policies. Today, and despite the challenges we all faced during this global pandemic, GPSNR members send a signal to the world about their commitment to achieving a fair, equitable and environmentally sound future,” explained GPSNR Director Stefano Savi.
With around 85% of the world’s natural rubber produced by smallholders, the GPSNR says that in order to transform a sector that is primarily reliant on smallholder producers, it is embracing smallholder inclusivity and a concept of shared responsibility. This, it states, will be achieved through the establishment of a Shared Responsibility Working Group.
“Smallholders are a crucial link in the natural rubber value chain, and they have a key role to play in driving awareness on-the-ground and setting the global agenda for sustainable natural rubber,” remarked Savi.
In 2020, GPSNR notes it welcomed 28 smallholder members from seven rubber-producing countries. These smallholders now constitute a standalone category and play an equal role in decision-making within GPSNR alongside the other four categories: producers, processors, and traders; tire manufacturers and other natural rubber makers/buyers; car manufacturers, other downstream users, financial institutions; and civil society.