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More than 99% of the world’s natural rubber is made from latex derived from rubber trees, which is 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 October 2021, we released an enhanced version of our Natural Rubber Procurement Policy to align with the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber‘s (GPSNR) Policy Framework. This update signals our strong natural rubber supply chain commitments across all aspects of sustainability. Our Natural Rubber Procurement Policy applies to Goodyear and our affiliates, including Cooper.
The key policy principles guiding Goodyear’s actions include:
· Support and protect the rights of workers (including contract, temporary, and migrant workers), landowners and local people;
· Promote responsible acquisition and management of land that is free from deforestation and land grabbing;
· Promote practices that lead to the ability to trace natural rubber through the entire supply chain;
· Promote the use of responsible and sustainable production techniques;
· Promote the best available growing and harvesting techniques;
· Support the livelihoods of smallholders; and
· Regularly audit and work with our supply chain on policy compliance.
Additionally, Goodyear is a founding member of the TIP, a CEO-led initiative with 10 of the world’s major tire companies. 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 GPSNR in 2018.
In addition to being a GPSNR founding member, Goodyear continues to be an active GPSNR member, including being voted to the two-year seat on the Executive Committee representing the tiremaker category. Goodyear also continues to co-chair the Strategy & Objectives Working Group that completed the Environmental Risk Study and development of GPSNR’s Theory of Change. Goodyear prioritizes engagement directly within GPSNR Working Groups or indirectly as necessary, as GPSNR facilitates the natural rubber industry’s move towards a more sustainable supply chain. In 2021, GPSNR approved reporting requirements, under which members in the natural rubber value chain will report on their policy implementation progress, which Goodyear will complete in 2022.