TOKYO — Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. (YRC) has agreed to provide economic support for Thai natural rubber farmers and to improve traceability to ensure transparency and soundness of the supply chain.
Yokohama's pledge is being coordinated through the Rubber Authority of Thailand, state enterprise under the jurisdiction of Thailand's Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC), and ties into the company's "Procurement Policy for Sustainable Natural Rubber."
YRC said this agreement is a follow-up to a survey on natural rubber plantations in Thailand's Surat Thani district conducted by its NR processing subsidiary, Y.T. Rubber Co. Ltd. (YTRC), since June last year.
YTRC has interviewed about 70 NR farmers and plans to continue the survey with the goal of surveying 500 farmers by year-end 2021. YRC plans to use the survey results to analyze the issues facing NR plantations to enable it to contribute to sustainable NR operations and to improve traceability.
The growth in demand for NR in recent years has led to growing concerns in NR-producing countries and regions about a host of problems, YRC said, including unlawful deforestation, land exploitation, human rights violations and adverse effects on biodiversity,
To help resolve these problems, YRC is participating in the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-i) advocated by the International Rubber Study Group.
The company also is active as a founding member of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) launched in October 2018.
Among activities YRC has undertaken to secure NR sustainability are:
- conducting joint research on natural rubber with universities;
- promoting widespread use of "agroforestry" that contributes to more stable income for the country's rubber farmers; and
- holding regular exchanges (Suppliers' Day) with natural rubber suppliers.