In response to a new zero deforestation sustainability policy from Michelin, a global tire maker headquartered in France, WWF issued the following statement from Jean Bakouma, Head of the Forest Program at WWF-France.
“WWF commends Michelin for developing the first major global policy for sustainable natural rubber. As the world’s largest buyer of natural rubber, Michelin’s policy, which was developed in partnership with WWF-France, will, when implemented, help address one of the leading causes of deforestation in Southeast Asia, the source of most of the world’s natural rubber. Rubber has been a major driver of deforestation in the Mekong region over the last few years, especially after global prices peaked around 2011.
"More generally, WWF and Michelin decided to address that threat and, in 2015, began collaborating to eliminate deforestation from global rubber production.
“Michelin’s policy focuses on eliminating deforestation and addresses human and labor rights, supply chain transparency, community farm development and tire efficiency. The company has begun tracing its whole supply chain and advising its suppliers of natural rubber to get in compliance with its new policy. An important first step to making natural rubber production sustainable is to develop responsibly-managed plantations on degraded land with full consent by tenure-holding local communities, instead of grabbing land and clearing high quality natural forests.
“WWF urges the world’s biggest users of natural rubber, tire manufacturers, car makers and vehicle fleet operators to procure deforestation free and ethically produced natural rubber and tires.”