Natural rubber is an essential raw material used in the creation of more than 40,000 products. It represents a USD 300 billion supply chain involving 40 million people (IRSG, 2019).
But despite the major role rubber plays in our lives, few of us are aware of how many items we interact with every day contain it. Fewer still can explain the difference between natural rubber and synthetic rubber.
The figures may surprise you:
- 47% of the global rubber supply is natural, derived from approximately 14 million hectares of plantations worldwide.
- In 2018, the total value of that rubber was $40.71 billion.
- In 2019, natural rubber production reached 13.6 million metric tons.
- 70% of natural rubber goes into tire production.
- Rubber plantations produce more than rubber! Approximately 63 million green tons of rubberwood are produced annually.
- Rubberwood is the world’s most traded tropical hardwood (ITTO, 2017).
Despite the size of the industry and the complexity of the supply chain, the sources of this natural rubber are quite modest.
Eighty-five percent is produced by six million smallholders who tap and grow rubber trees on independent plantations. Most of these plantations are located in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
PEFC launches campaign to promote sustainable rubber
PEFC launches the #PEFCisHere campaign to promote Sustainable Rubber internationally to recognize the key role natural rubber plays in meeting UN and EU sustainability strategies, including those related to climate change mitigation and just ecological transition.
Through this initiative, PEFC as a global organization wants to support foresters and small forest owners in their efforts and commitment to sustainable forest management.
It also wants to raise awareness of the relationship between sustainable rubber production, the health of forests, people and the planet and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them.
Over the last decade, PEFC has played a leading role in supporting the entire rubber value chain.
For all these reasons, Bandex wants to collaborate in the visibility of this campaign.
Making visible the stories of the people who manage these small plantations and the challenges they face in order to progress in a fair and responsible economic, social and environmental growth, is one of the most important forms of support.
What is sustainable rubber?
Sustainable management of rubber plantations means less negative environmental and social impacts from the production of natural rubber and rubberwood. It also increases the economic viability of the plantation itself, improving long-term productivity. This is good for the smallholder, good for the plantation and good for neighboring forests.
PEFC sustainable forest management and chain-of-custody certifications work together to achieve this, tracing natural rubber and rubberwood from plantations to final products. It provides independently verified assurance that the certified materials contained in a product come from certified, sustainably managed rubber plantations. PEFC certification is available to all companies that manufacture, process, market or sell natural rubber and rubber wood products.
What can you do to help?
Raise awareness, commitment and demand for PEFC certification.
Diversify to new industry opportunities and expand existing ones
Increasing visibility of PEFC and adoption of chain of custody
Partnerships are crucial to the natural rubber production and supply chain. They will also be fundamental to ensuring its sustainability. PEFC has identified four categories where partnerships are essential to develop:
Company-led procurement policies
Local capacity building and infrastructure
Public policies to enable legal frameworks
Transformation of production to improve yield and quality, as well as livelihood incomes.
We will continue from Bandex to share this campaign and disseminate these essential stories to know the heart of this activity, in all its process.
PEFC is developing a set of infographics, editorial images and videos that are available to share.
Can you help us spread the word?
More information here: https://pefc.org/what-we-do/our-collective-impact/our-campaigns/supporting-sustainable-rubber