In response to General Motors (GM) announcement to develop natural rubber procurement requirements, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Kerry Cesareo, vice president, forests.
“In recent years natural rubber plantations have been contributing to massive deforestation across Southeast Asia and beyond, and have led to major land grab and human rights violations.
“These devastating outcomes are not necessary to meet today’s demand for natural rubber. Implementing responsible management practices on degraded land, rather than clearing high conservation value forests will help meet industry demands, increase carbon stocks, maintain biodiversity and improve community livelihoods.
“Following in the footsteps of Michelin’s 2016 zero deforestation policy, GM is the first automaker to announce their intent to develop tire procurement guidelines that aim to ensure zero deforestation and uphold human and labor rights throughout its supply chain. We welcome GM’s commitment to bring their top suppliers on board and hope today’s announcement will inspire automakers and tire makers alike to deliver on the promise of zero deforestation tires in the near future.
“Given that tire manufacture represents 75 percent of the natural rubber market, tire manufacturers and automakers have an important role to play in the transformation of this market.
“WWF calls on automakers, tire manufacturers and rubber suppliers to develop strong public zero deforestation policies that will help transform the natural rubber supply chain and set us on a path toward a more sustainable future.”