- Issue: Winter 2016
Learn how WWF is making the production of natural rubber less bumpy for the planet’s health.
There are two types of rubber
Impacts of natural rubber
Rubber trees require a hot, damp climate, and more than 90% of the world’s natural rubber supply comes from mainland Southeast Asia.
Supply of rubber is much higher than demand right now, which gives buyers the upper hand—including tire companies that want to reduce the footprint of their industry on the environment.
Approximate percentage of the world’s natural rubber that goes into making tires for planes, buses, cars, and trucks used in shipping and transport. In the US, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, The Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi, FedEx, and UPS are all major purchasers of tires; Goodyear is one of the world’s leading tire makers.
Michelin—the world’s largest buyer of natural rubber—is the first tire company to commit to responsible rubber sourcing. Since early 2015, WWF and Michelin have worked in Sumatra’s Thirty Hills landscape to design deforestation-free, wildlife-friendly plantations that provide sustainable income for local communities—and show that natural rubber can be produced in a sustainable way.
The best way to ensure more responsible production of natural rubber is to grow trees for rubber production on low-quality, degraded land instead of clearing high-quality natural forests to plant them.
WWF’s goal is to have the majority of companies that produce and use rubber commit to sustainably and ethically produced rubber. In particular, this would include car manufacturers, tire makers, and rubber processors.
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