Singapore, 23 September 2020: Members of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) have convened the annual General Assembly, which saw the approval of a members’ sustainability policy framework and the creation of a new membership category for smallholder producers of natural rubber.
The newly approved policy framework will help GPSNR member companies, who account for almost 50% of global natural rubber volume, to establish or update strong supply chain sustainability commitments through their natural rubber purchasing policies, on all aspects of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social. Modeled around the Platform’s 12 Principles of Sustainable Natural Rubber, the new policy framework sets out eight overarching themes that include commitments to legal compliance, community livelihoods, healthy, functioning ecosystems (including no deforestation), and respecting all human rights.
“This is a tremendous milestone for the Platform and for the natural rubber industry. In just under two years, GPSNR members developed and approved concrete policy commitments for companies to integrate into their sustainable natural rubber policies. Today, and despite the challenges we all faced during this global pandemic, GPSNR members send a signal to the world about their commitment to achieving a fair, equitable and environmentally sound future” said GPSNR Director Stefano Savi.
Around 85% of the world’s natural rubber is produced by smallholders. In order to transform a sector that is primarily reliant on smallholder producers, GPSNR is embracing smallholder inclusivity and a concept of shared responsibility through the establishment of a Shared Responsibility Working Group, which will identify how the responsibilities and costs of implementation can be equitably distributed across all stakeholder categories, with the understanding that smallholders should not carry the burden of a higher cost to implement sustainability activities in complying with the policy or implementation guidance to be developed.
“Smallholders are a crucial link in the natural rubber value chain, and they have a key role to play in driving awareness on-the-ground and setting the global agenda for sustainable natural rubber” remarked Director Savi.
This year, GPSNR welcomed 28 smallholder members from seven rubber-producing countries. These smallholders now constitute a newly approved standalone category and play an equal role in decision-making within GPSNR alongside the other four categories: producers, processors, and traders; tire manufacturers and other natural rubber makers/buyers; car manufacturers, other downstream users and financial institutions; and civil society.
GPSNR’s virtual General Assembly drew more than 120 attendees, including members of the Platform, partners and invited guests. In addition to voting on resolutions, GPSNR members also elected representatives to the 2020-2021 Executive Committee, which comprises representatives from each of the membership categories. And for the first time, three newly elected smallholder producers with diverse geographical backgrounds will participate in Executive Committee discussions and decision-making.