Did you know? Almost nothing in everyday life would function without rubber. 40,000 items used in daily life contain this natural raw material. That is how a belt drives the drum in the washing machine, and when it comes to the portable water supply at festivals, it is hoses that provide hygiene. But that's not all: There are more than 600 rubber components in a single car. What makes the material so unique? Its elasticity, which has made it the quiet star of the modern world.
Natural rubber is widely used in manufacturing countless products. It comes from rubber trees, which grow in rainforest regions. In order to preserve the home of numerous people and animals and the “green lungs of the earth,” it must be ensured that the cultivation of rubber trees does not lead to deforestation. This is why we are campaigning for our more than 200 suppliers, and the rubber farmers from whom they purchase goods, to comply with strict environmental standards.
The most recent project concerns sustainability in the supply chain for natural rubber in Indonesia, the world’s second-largest producer of this raw material. We are working together with a variety of partners on a criteria list for sustainably producing natural rubber. Over the next three years, 400 farmers in the West Kalimantan province of Borneo will receive training so that they can cultivate high-quality rubber in accordance with clearly defined sustainability criteria.
||Since 2017, Renzo Gonzalez is Managing Director at Continental Tire Holding Singapore and is putting a great focus on acting sustainably:
“Sustainability is one of the key elements of our company; we also expect this from our suppliers and business partners. The project in Indonesia is an important part of our commitment to the environment and the living conditions of small farmers.”
In addition, the traceability will be guaranteed of the rubber from the small farmers to its use in our production. An electronic system will help with this. The local farmers will also benefit financially from our sustainability initiative. Due to a better quality of rubber, higher yields and optimization of the supply chain their income will increase.
Sustainability characterizes purchasing in other areas, as well. In addition to clearly defined guidelines and enforcement mechanisms to prevent non-compliant behavior by suppliers in the supply chain, a sustainability guideline specifically for natural rubber will come into force this year. It reinforces the corporation’s full commitment to a healthy and compliant supply chain and zero-tolerance with regard to deforestation, land grabbing and other practices that harm the local population and the entire ecosystem. At the same time, representatives of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) are working on introducing an industry standard for sustainable natural rubber.
In addition, a procedure for assessing the sustainability of existing and potential suppliers was introduced in 2017. This is a huge effort because hundreds of companies need to be assessed. At the moment, more than 80% of the raw material suppliers to Continental’s ContiTech and Tires divisions have already been evaluated, and further measures have been introduced.
This will allow rubber to successfully and sustainably play its part, for the long term, as an all-round talent in high-speed trains, harvesting machines and in many thousands of things in everyday life.