New Goodyear rubber procurement policy to guide supply chain development

In spite of alternatives such as guayule and Russian dandelion, the Hevea brasiliensis tree will remain an important source of rubber for tyre manufacturers. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company recognises this and has announced a new natural rubber procurement policy. The tyre maker says this new policy “reflects its strong commitment to the responsible sourcing of raw materials” and believes its implementation and adherence will help address deforestation, land grabbing, and human rights in the areas of the world where natural rubber is produced.

“We know our actions can make a difference in protecting the rights of people throughout the supply chain, including the smallholders who grow natural rubber on their own land,” said Maureen Thune, vice-president and chief procurement officer. “Our new policy also helps to protect the environment by promoting environmentally and socially responsible land use.”

Building upon the company’s Business Conduct Manual and Supplier Code of Conduct, the policy, which can be reviewed here, introduces seven principles that Goodyear will use to guide the development of a long-term, sustainable supply chain:

1. Human Rights – Goodyear will work to ensure its natural rubber supply chain protects the rights of all involved, fostering a positive working environment at all levels of the supply chain.

2. Responsible Land Acquisition and Use – Goodyear will work to promote an environmentally and socially responsible natural rubber supply chain, free from deforestation and land grabbing.

3. Traceability – Goodyear will work toward and promote practices that lead to the ability to trace natural rubber through the entire supply chain.

4. Natural Rubber Processing – Goodyear expects its suppliers who process natural rubber for its usage to manufacture their product in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.
5. Natural Rubber Growing and Harvesting Process – Goodyear encourages its suppliers to utilise best-known cultivation practices for existing planted and replanted natural rubber trees.

6. Smallholder Outreach, Engagement and Community Development – Goodyear will work to increase yields and improve the livelihoods of existing smallholders, encouraging all its direct suppliers and relevant members of their supply chain to support their communities.

7. Policy Implementation and Compliance – Goodyear is committed to the corruption-free and transparent implementation of this policy and its principles.

Beyond this new policy, Goodyear is also working collaboratively to improve sustainability across the entire natural rubber supply chain. The company is a member of the Tire Industry Project (TIP), a CEO-led initiative made up of the world’s 11 major tyre companies, which is actively working with key stakeholders, including automakers, rubber producers and civil society, to develop an industry platform for natural rubber sustainability.

“The multi-stakeholder collaboration is exciting, and we believe it is the key to the development of a unified industry platform,” said Thune. “Together, we are exploring best practices for responsible sourcing and identifying appropriate governance structures for the platform, all with the goal of making sustainable natural rubber a reality.”

Goodyear’s natural rubber procurement policy takes effect immediately and covers the entire supply chain, including smallholders, industrial plantations, intermediate dealers/consolidators, processors, trading companies, and Goodyear itself.

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