Sumitomo’s rubber procurement subsidiary has announced that it has joined an environmental and social risk assessment tool specific to natural rubber. The RubberWay tool has been jointly developed by Continental, Michelin and software company, Smart Agriculture (Smag) to accelerate sustainable procurement of natural rubber.
With an urgent need to respond to environmental issues such as deforestation due to farm expansion and social issues such as labor and human rights, tools such as this can help as demand for natural rubber increases due to population growth and the development of the mobility society.
Sumitomo Rubber Group says it will respond to these environmental and social issues by introducing the tool and promoting sustainable procurement of natural rubber pursuant to the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) The tool statistically analyzes huge amounts of questionnaire data to assess the magnitude of environmental and social issues and displays the assessment results on a map. The assessment items include such things as deforestation, water resource management, forced labor and child labor.
Currently, the tool covers 10 countries that produce natural rubber, and Sumitomo says that using it will help the company procure supplies from areas that comply with the GPSNR policy.
As part of a commitment to its long-term sustainability policy called Driving Our Future Challenge 2050, the company says it has been working to improve traceability and support small-scale household farmers under the banner of Raw Material Procurement in Line with Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy. It says it will proactively continue to promote initiatives in collaboration with all stakeholders, including those making up the supply chain, to achieve a society where natural rubber is sustainable.
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