Five reasons why your company should be using sustainable natural rubber

June 2019

For companies that are committed to sustainability, moving toward using ethical rubber is the next big – and essential – step to making your products better for the planet. Conventional rubber harvesting causes environmental devastation on a massive scale. But the good news is: the rubber you use doesn’t have to.

Here are three reasons why industrial rubber harvesting can be harmful – and two reasons why this is the right moment for your company to shift to sustainable natural rubber:

Rubber Production Causes Deforestation

Deforestation for rubber is a problem across Africa and southeast Asia, and it’s accelerating. These areas are biodiversity hotspots, and the habitats of numerous endangered species, including tigers, gibbons, and elephants, are rapidly disappearing.

Rubber Production Can Destroy Communities

The rubber industry is destroying more than just our forests. Exploitative harvesting is wrecking communities in Southeast Asia and Africa, throwing families off the land where they’ve lived for generations and taking away their livelihoods, all to make way for more rubber farms.

Rubber Production Worsens Climate Change

The immediate harm caused by the rubber industry is serious – but the biggest impacts might not be felt for years to come, because deforestation is a major factor in climate change. At a moment when drastic measures are needed within the next decade to prevent the worst effects of climate change, many companies are stepping up to make a difference, but rubber is an often-overlooked part of the problem. It’s critical that we commit to ending the deforestation caused by rubber harvesting.

Consumers Want Sustainability

Sustainable natural rubber will do more than just allow your company to be part of protecting our planet and communities. As companies seek to distinguish themselves in increasingly competitive markets, surveys show that 66 percent of the general public and 73 percent of millennials will spend more if the product is produced sustainably. This means that being sustainable doesn’t have to come with harm to your bottom line; in fact, it can help your brand.

There is Still Time to Get Ahead of the Game

Fortunately, companies around the world are recognizing the benefits of and are beginning to commit to sustainable and ethical rubber. Just last year, six tire companies adopted “No Deforestation, No Exploitation” policies for their rubber supply chains (bringing the total number across the industry to eight) and many other brands, from condom companies to wetsuit manufacturers, committed to fair and sustainable rubber as well. Additionally, this March, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, a promising platform that has the opportunity to bring the whole industry towards sustainability.

Your company can start on this journey right now and be part of the global movement to protect forests, our climate, and human rights.

Want to join stakeholders across the natural rubber value chain for an open and honest discussion about the challenges and opportunities in the world of sustainable natural rubber- and learn how your company can commit to sustainability? Join us for a workshop on Sustainable Natural Rubber – Pathways, Policies and Partnerships, where you’ll have an opportunity to make connections and explore solutions to making rubber more sustainable. Companies at all stages of their sustainability journey are welcome!