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More than 99% of the world’s natural rubber is made from latex derived from rubber trees, which are primarily sourced from Southeast Asia. The tire industry uses approximately 70% of the world’s natural rubber, and demand for natural rubber is growing. This raises various social, environmental and economic concerns and opportunities associated with the production of this important commodity. Social and agricultural practices in natural rubber production can vary greatly and can have significant impacts on the livelihood and rights of local people, as well as local ecosystems through potential habitat conversions and reduction of species from deforestation.
Goodyear does not own any rubber tree plantations, but we have taken actions as a purchaser of natural rubber. In 2020, Goodyear continued our commitment to responsibly source natural rubber with our Natural Rubber Procurement Policy, first adopted in 2018.
Through TIP, Goodyear worked with other stakeholders, including automakers, rubber producers, other end users, and civil society, to move the natural rubber supply chain toward natural rubber sustainability. TIP members and others launched the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) in 2018. The platform’s goal is to “harmonize standards to improve respect for human rights, prevent land grabbing and deforestation, protect biodiversity and water resources, improve yields, and increase supply chain transparency and traceability.”1 In 2020, Goodyear participated in the GPSNR general meeting and a Goodyear representative continued a 2-year term of the Executive Committee.
In addition to being a GPSNR founding member and a member of the GPSNR Executive Committee, we also lead a working group focused on defining GPSNR’s vision for sustainable natural rubber and establishing the strategies needed to achieve that vision. In 2020, that working group prioritized efforts to understand sustainability risks within the natural rubber supply chain by undertaking an environmental risk assessment that is expected to be completed in 2021. This work is intended to support the development of GPSNR’s Theory of Change and to help GPSNR continue to develop the roadmap to a more sustainable natural rubber supply chain.