Continental is extending its commitment to sustainability in the natural rubber supply chain. The tyre maker and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have agreed to significantly expand their project to ensure full traceability within the natural rubber supply chain in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan (Borneo).
Kumho Tire Co., South Korea’s second-largest tire maker, said Tuesday it will sell its natural rubber processing plant in Vietnam to focus on its core business. According to an official statement published on 23 March 2021, Kumho Tire said it has struck a deal with a joint venture between Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. and Thanh Cong Group of Vietnam to sell its rubber factory.
Bridgestone Corporation reports it has developed a new technology for improving the rubber productivity of guayule plants. It worked on this technology in a joint development project with Kirin Holdings Company, Limited, a company perhaps better known for beer and other beverages.
The dream of securing natural rubber supplies in the vicinity of production facilities and reducing dependency upon hevea rubber plantations has preoccupied Bridgestone Corporation for the past decade. Early in 2018 it announced a collaboration with genomic big data company NRGene to advance the commercialisation of guayule, and today Bridgestone shared the results of this four-year project. The combined effort has resulted in the partners successfully assembling a specific guayule genome.
Vietnam Rubber Group says it achieved its revenue and profit targets for 2020, reporting profit of VNĐ5 trillion (roughly US$200 million) on sales of VNĐ25.477 trillion ($1 billion), according to the Vietnam News Agency. As a result of these figures, the company reports that its goals include restructuring and increased investment in the rubber sector with possible mergers that would help close the rubber tyre and tube products value chain.
GRI recently held two outreach events with some of the natural rubber farming communities it works with. The events were held under GRI’s Green X Circle initiative which supports Sri Lanka’s farming communities and the country’s vibrant agricultural industry. Identifying a need for extra-curricular sporting activities and equipment for school children in the area, the company distributed cricket, volleyball and badminton equipment to selected schools in Monaragala, Sri Lanka.
According to OECD estimates, the world will be home to more than 2.4 billion cars by 2050, around a billion more than exist today. This significant rise in the global vehicle parc will result in much higher demand for the raw materials needed to manufacture tyres. Bridgestone has turned to big data to help optimise rubber yields, and reports developing a system that leads to higher long-term yields.
Campaign group Mighty Earth has published a report alleging that Michelin “covered up industrial-scale deforestation of over 2,500 hectares of rainforest in the run-up to the launch of its flagship ‘eco-friendly’ sustainable natural rubber joint venture project in Sumatra, Indonesia”. The project is currently seeking an additional $120 million in investment from green financiers. Michelin’s joint-venture Indonesia natural rubber project Royal Lestari Utama (RLU) robustly denied the allegations.
Shandong Linglong Tire recently unveiled a new range of bio-based rubber tyres. Developed in joint collaboration with Beijing University of Chemical Technology over the past three years, the tyres utilise a number of sustainable rubber ingredients.
Bridgestone has announced a new campaign that invites its partners to participate in building a stronger society. Called ‘A Layered Journey’, the campaign highlights the ways Bridgestone is incorporating sustainability in its value chain with a focus upon its commitment to sustainable procurement of natural rubber.
Members of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) convened the annual General Assembly on 23 September 2020. The event saw the approval of a members’ sustainability policy framework and the creation of a new membership category for smallholder producers of natural rubber.
The European Union has added natural rubber to its list of critical raw materials, a document that was published on 3 September 2020. Listing the main global production centres as Indonesia (31 per cent); Thailand (18 per cent); and Malaysia (16 per cent), the EU underlined that 100 per cent of European requirements are imported and that tyres and rubber components are the principal uses.
In what is purportedly an industry first, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Continental are digitally tracing the rubber supply chain from cultivation in Indonesia and further processing through to tyre production.
The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) has further scaled back its outlook on world production of natural rubber. As per the revised outlook, world production is expected to fall by 4.7 per cent to 13.130 million tonnes during 2020.
The Rubber Skill Development Council (RSDC) foresees a shortage of skilled manpower in the rubber sector. With the objective of understanding the challenges and concerns related to absorption of workforce back into the business operations post-lockdown RSDC, is running a webinar to discuss “Demand of Skilled Workforce in the Rubber Sector Post Covid19 Lockdown” on Friday 15 May 2020.