GM has committed to sourcing sustainable natural rubber for our tires, setting an example for our entire industry.
Tire manufacturing consumes three-quarters of the world’s rubber. And much of that rubber comes from Southeast Asia, including areas along the Mekong River where unsustainable harvesting practices can lead to deforestation and where there is a significant risk of human rights violations.
To help address these negative outcomes, GM has made an industry-first commitment to sourcing sustainable natural rubber for the tires we buy, sending a strong demand signal and setting an example of leadership for our entire industry. Working with partners including Michelin and the World Wildlife Fund, GM hopes to develop a road map that ensures the rubber we purchase does not contribute to deforestation and is not aligned with unethical business or labor practices. We also aspire to support education about sustainable farming and foresting practices in the Mekong region.
One good thing leads to another. As we develop solutions for sustainable rubber, we also have our eye on other supply chains. The intent is to leverage sustainable rubber to increase the sustainability of supply chains for other raw materials, such as leather used in vehicle interiors. Manufacturers are devising ways to produce leather more sustainably, as well as developing leather alternatives that offer similar levels of luxury and comfort. As this issue evolves, GM intends to be part of the conversation.
GM is working with suppliers such as Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Michelin to develop appropriate transparency into natural rubber and ensure its traceability throughout the supply chain, and we are encouraging other automakers to join with us in this effort. In early 2018, we co-led with CSR Europe a workshop that brought together representatives from automotive companies, tire manufacturers, NGOs and chambers of commerce worldwide to discuss ways to build alignment regarding sustainable natural rubber. GM expects these informal alliances to become more structured in the near future, particularly after the release of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s platform proposal on the subject.