The tire industry consumes around 70 percent of the world’s natural rubber, and demand is growing. Most of the world’s rubber today comes from Southeast Asia, and as demand grows, so too does pressure to convert ecologically valuable and sensitive tropical forests into more and more rubber plantations. That comes alongside pressure on local communities that could threaten their fundamental human rights.
Recognizing the importance of taking action to limit the social and environmental impacts from natural rubber production, General Motors became the first automaker to commit to sustainable natural rubber in 2017, and in 2018 became a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR).
GPSNR is an international, multistakeholder organization, with a mission to lead improvements in the socioeconomic and environmental performance of the natural rubber value chain. Members of the platform include rubber suppliers and processors, tire manufacturers, automakers and NGOs. GM appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with peers, suppliers and civil society organizations to collectively move the needle on sustainable natural rubber.
GM believes that sourcing tires produced using sustainable natural rubber has a number of community, business and environmental benefits, including:
- Preserving and restoring primary forests and high conservation value and high carbon stock areas that are critical to addressing climate change and protecting wildlife.
- Improving yield and quality for natural rubber farmers, further supporting the small businesses that contribute 85 percent of this material.
- Mitigating business risk related to supply chain sourcing and performance and helping assure long-term availability of a< key commodity.
GM actively participates in two working groups: the Strategy and Objectives Working Group and the Policy Toolbox Working Group. In the former, we work to define the theory of change and ensure strategic alignment across the other working groups; and in the latter, we are working with NGOs and suppliers on crafting specific policy commitments and disclosures that company members will be expected to adopt.
We want to make sure that every tire mounted on every General Motors vehicle meets the highest standards for safety and quality. Through our involvement in the GPSNR, we want to also ensure that the natural rubber in every tire is produced in a way that’s consistent with our environmental and social commitments. We recognize that in today’s complex global marketplace, no one can do it all by themselves, which is why we’re proud to be part of this collaborative, multistakeholder initiative.