Six million smallholder farmers produce almost 90% of the world’s natural rubber: 70% of this goes to the tire industry, which then services other downstream users. Sold by the ton, there are some costs that are not included in the price especially when produced in an unsustainable way. These costs have historically included deforestation, forced labor, and corruption. The members of the relatively new Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber aim to change that with a focus on sustainability in the rubber supply chain. This is a commentary. The views expressed are of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. Every time I meet someone new and tell them I work on defining sustainability for the rubber industry, a range of questions follow. The most important of these typically is, “What’s stopping the industry from being sustainable right now?’’ I often fall back on metaphors to explain this, it’s how my brain works. However, today, almost two years into the inauguration of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, I’ve decided to be straightforward with you. This is mostly because no example or metaphor can come close enough to describing what a rollercoaster the last two years have been. But first, […]


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