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.
In light of the recent developments on travel restrictions, the IRSG Secretariat in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the Organising Committee of the World Rubber Summit (WRS) 2020 have postponed the conference until September 2020. The new dates will be communicated in due course.
Growers, suppliers and manufacturers of both natural and synthetic rubbers are feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with demand for both commodities decreasing significantly in the first quarter of 2020.
Anyone who’s spent time in a garage or tyre shop knows that the smell of rubber is an acquired love. And there’s good news for those who never acquire this love – Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. has, after identifying the factors that cause natural rubber to emit an odour, developed ‘Reduced Odor Natural Rubber,’ a new type of natural rubber that emits significantly less odour.
Yokohama Rubber has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rubber Authority of Thailand (RAOT). The aim of this cooperative partnership with the state enterprise is to provide economic support for Thai natural rubber farmers and to improve traceability, with the aim of ensuring transparency and soundness within the supply chain.
Locally-sourced alternatives to natural rubber, such as Continental’s ‘Taraxagum’ Russian dandelion project, look set to benefit from new government policy in Germany. Yesterday, the German cabinet approved its ‘Nationale Bioökonomiestrategie’ (National Bioeconomy Strategy). This brings together existing bioeconomy strategies and paves the way for further development in this area, including funding for research.
A team of chemists at Canada’s McMaster University claim to have discovered an innovative way to break down and dissolve the rubber used in tyres. They believe their process could lead to more efficient methods of recycling.