The 2015-initiated collaboration between the Michelin Group and the French office of the World Wide Fund for Nature has been renewed for a further four years. The tyre maker will continue working with WWF France towards sustainability within the natural rubber market. In the coming four years, the partnership will further develop an existing pilot project in Indonesia and additionally open up the collaboration to include sustainable mobility and the protection of biodiversity.
Rubber growers in India’s Kerala state are guarding themselves against potential slumps in natural rubber prices by forming a producer company that will manufacture tyres for two- and three-wheel vehicles. The Integrated Rubber Farmer Producer Company Ltd (IRFPC) was registered last November. The Pala-based company is being financed in part by a share float open to rubber farmers, and is also being assisted by German NGO the Andreas Hermes Akademie.
The IRSG has welcomed a new member, the Plastics Institute of Thailand. The Plastics Institute of Thailand is the eighth specialised network institution under the foundation development industry, ministry of industry approved by a cabinet resolution on 16 November 2010. Its goals are: Technology and management development; increasing marketing capabilities; and creating a plastic industry database.
China has begun establishing a rubber Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Sri Lanka. The arrangement will help promote the country’s rubber industry and boost sector earnings. In return, China is asking for long-term access to lands and tax concessions, according to various media reports.
As a founding member of the recently-launched Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), Sumitomo Rubber Industries, Ltd. has turned its attention to the human and environmental issues related to the growth, harvesting and use of natural rubber. Its position has now been set out in the company’s ‘Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy.’
Several Tire Industry Project members have published sustainable natural rubber procurement policies of late. Yokohama and Hankook published theirs this month, and so did Continental. The company says its Sustainable Natural Rubber Sourcing Policy will guide the Rubber Group in detecting risks to workers, communities, forests, biodiversity and agricultural land, such as deforestation, corruption and land grabbing, in the early stages.
Members of the Tire Industry Project (TIP) and other stakeholders came together on 25 October to celebrate the inauguration of a new platform for positively transforming the natural rubber supply chain. Following 12 months of stakeholder collaboration, the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) has been launched with what is described as “an ambitious and wide-reaching set of priorities” for the natural rubber chain.
Hankook Tire is the latest tyre maker to establish a policy setting out social responsibility within the natural rubber value chain. The policy aims to ensure each link in the natural rubber supply chain is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
In parallel with the International Rubber Study Group’s (IRSG) 75th Anniversary, the association has organised a photo competition to pay tribute to women’s contribution in the rubber industry. The contest is supported by Singapore Committee for UN Women and prizes are sponsored by Namazie International.
Yokohama Rubber has introduced a procurement policy for sustainable natural rubber based upon the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i) launched by the International Rubber Study Group as well as the main proposals made by the Tire Industry Project (TIP) at the World Rubber Summit 2018 in May. With its policy, the tyre and rubber products manufacturer addresses concerns such as unlawful deforestation, land exploitation, human rights violations, and adverse effects on biodiversity. Not only will Yokohama Rubber adhere to the procurement policy, it will also promote it through its supply chain.
In Anklam, near Germany’s Baltic coast, Continental is setting up a centre to oversee its efforts to industrialise rubber sourced from Russian dandelions for use in tyre production. Groundbreaking on the Taraxagum Lab Anklam facility took place last November, and Continental reports that the first machine for extracting rubber from the roots of the Russian dandelion plant was installed several days ago.
The results of joint research projects undertaken between Yokohama Rubber and two universities in Thailand since 2013 were announced at The International Polymer Conference of Thailand 2018 (PCT-8) in June. The joint research projects were conducted with researchers at Mahidol University and Prince of Songkla University and focused upon ensuring stable, reliable supplies of natural rubber.