SINGAPORE — An international program aimed at improving the sustainability of the natural rubber industry is creating a new way to consider complaints.
The Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), which includes more than a dozen tire makers, describes the effort as "the natural rubber industry's first ever grievance mechanism." The idea is to provide a way to address concerns about members.
The process makes it possible for third parties to address issues with GPSNR members through an unbiased yet amicable process. The focus of the process will always be on finding solutions that work for everyone and provide both complainants and respondents with a transparent platform for resolution and accountability,'' Stefano Savi, GPSNR platform director, said.
GPSNR, a voluntary organization, seeks to improve the socioeconomic and environmental performance of the natural rubber industry. Both GPSNR members and those outside the organization can use the grievance process to address concerns about potential violation of GPSNR requirements or principles.
"The mechanism seeks to provide transparency and predictability in the process and requires resolutions to be reached in a timely manner," the group said.
"It asserts particular emphasis on finding expedient and impartial resolution for high risk cases involving impact on communities or the environment, through the creation of a Complaints Panel. This panel will be made up of volunteer members, an external expert, and will judge whether and what kind of corrective actions need to be taken," GPSNR said.
The organization said the new grievance program aims to find solutions through a comprehensive process.
Singapore-based GPSNR includes members throughout the natural rubber industry, including producers, processors, tire makers, vehicle manufacturers and environmental groups.
GPSNR members account for nearly half of global natural rubber volume. The group is an outgrowth of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development's Tire Industry Project.
Tire manufacturers Apollo Tyres Ltd., Bridgestone Corp., Continental A.G., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear, Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd., Kumho Tire Co. Ltd., Group Michelin, Nexen Tire Corp., Nokian Tyres P.L.C., Pirelli & C. S.p.A., Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd., Trelleborg A.B. and Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.
Suburban Tire Auto Repair Centers, a tire dealer in the Chicago area with seven locations, also is part of the group.