More than 50 natural rubber stakeholders met in Singapore for a workshop featuring founding members of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), an independent platform to improve the natural rubber value chain, to align the organisation to a governance structure and redirect it to its priority actions.
The stakeholders ranging from tyre manufacturers, other rubber users, suppliers and processors, vehicle makers and NGOs contributed to the ideals of GPSNR which will aspire to develop standards to increase supply chain transparency and traceability, improve yield, prevent land-grabbing and deforestation, protect biodiversity and water resource and most specially improve respect for human rights.
For the past few months, environmental NGOs,such as Mighty Earth, WWF, Global Witness, Birdlife, Rainforest Alliance, FSC and ProForest are concerned that the level of control held by tyre manufacturers in the GPSNR would hinder its effectiveness.
Fortunately, the organisation said that an agreement has already been reached on multi-stakeholder governance structure that includes a greater share of voting weight for civil society members following a workshop by founding members and other stakeholders in Singapore last January and another in Geneva last November.
GPSNR Director Stefano Savi says, “This a significant development. It’s a product of the dedication of all stakeholders to the shared goal of sustainable natural rubber.”
“We’ve seen compromise from all parties, there’s a spirit of cooperation and inclusivity that shows there’s real commitment to make this work,” he added.
The platform of more than 50 stakeholders places a high priority on recruiting smallholder members and ensure that they will be part of the decision making process. It also plans to establish a working group to identify and secure adequate smallholder representation. The organisation also noted that rubber processors, NGOs specialising in socio economic welfare relating to rubber production, and non-tyre rubber product maker should be given high regards.
“We are all aware of the critical challenges that remain, but there’s a feeling that, together, we can meet those challenges,” Savi said.
CEOs of Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Goodyear, Hankook, Kumho, Michelin, Pirelli, Sumitomo Rubber, Toyo Tire & Rubber and Yokohama Rubber, which also comprise the Tyre Industry Project within the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, initiated GPSNR. The latter will put the governance structure forward for adoption at its first-ever general assembly on Marchin Singapore.