Halcyon subsidiary joins NGOs for sustainable rubber in Cameroon

Corrie MacColl, a subsidiary of Halcyon Agri, the world’s leading rubber supply chain manager, has joined forces with local and international NGOs to strengthen sustainable rubber production across its Cameroon plantations.

Following a long-running consultation, Mighty Earth and the Community Forests Platform have joined the Cameroon Sustainability Council. Established last year, the Council is an independent body which guides the group’s environmental and socio-economic development in the country.

Mighty Earth, a global pro-environmental NGO, and PFC, a Cameroonian national civil society representing over 50 local NGOs, will help the Council guide sustainable, community-led rubber production in Cameroon.

The collaboration will emphasise dialogue and input from local level – and ensure indigenous and local communities have a voice in all Council decisions. As part of this landmark undertaking, four representatives from the Bantu and indigenous communities will join the Council.

Corrie MacColl has collaborated with Mighty Earth, PFC, the Centre for Environment and Development (CED) and L’Appeui pour la Protection de l’Environnement et le Développement/ (APED) since the start of the year.

These discussions have focused on a strategy to minimise environmental impact and promote positive benefits to local communities and farmers. In addition to representation and dialogue from local communities, these agreements include ensuring establishing dispute resolution mechanisms, providing clear and accessible public information on operations and strengthening policies around conservationism and workers’ rights.

Robert Meyer, CEO of Halcyon Agri,commented: “We have made it our priority that the production of sustainable natural rubber includes, involves and is driven by those impacted most by it – local farmers, communities and tribes. This is a huge step toward doing that. The representation of those communities on the Cameroon Sustainability Council, and the commitment from PFC and Mighty Earth to join the same, is the result of our long-lasting, collaborative and engaging relationship.”

Almost 92% of the world’s rubber comes from smallholder farmers across Asia and Africa and Meyer added that ensuring that rubber production is not only sustainable, but that it positively benefits producers and their communities is critical – not just in Cameroon, but everywhere.

Etelle Higonnet, Senior Campaign Director at Mighty Earth hopes the Council can thrive with the involvement of legitimate local community leaders and help unlock industry-wide transformation of Cameroon’s rubber sector. “Halcyon’s leadership in driving this is commendable, and we very much hope others will soon step up to the plate. It will be key for companies directly or indirectly buying rubber from Cameroon to follow Halcyon’s lead- to embrace zero deforestation Cameroonian rubber produced with strong human rights commitments. Now that local NGOs have been included as Members, Mighty Earth is fully prepared to serve as a member on the Council.”

Abraham Baffoe, Proforest Africa Regional Director and Chairperson of the Cameroon Sustainable Council said: “The Cameroon Sustainability Council is truly an independent Council and Corrie MacColl’s commitment to implementing the Council’s recommendations in transforming the company’s operations for greater environmental and social sustainability is is an important step toward a truly sustainable rubber model. This unique opportunity to transform corporate practices and to make this the norm in the region may not be realised if key stakeholders such as communities and civil society groups are underrepresented. The proactiveness of Corrie MacColl in engaging with relevant stakeholders and the pledge by PFC and others to join the Council is truly commendable.”