The inaugural General Assembly of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) was held in Singapore today with PEFC as one of its Founding Members.
GPSNR aims to provide an independent platform that will lead to improvements in the socio-economic and environmental performance of the natural rubber value chain.
Development of the GPSNR was initiated by the CEOs of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Tire Industry Project (TIP) in November 2017.
A wide range of members and stakeholders
Members of the platform include tire manufacturers, rubber suppliers and processors, vehicle makers and NGOs. Representatives from each of these stakeholder groups have contributed to the development of the Singapore-based platform and the wide-reaching set of priorities that will define GPSNR strategy and objectives.
Following a ceremonial launch in October 2018, interest in the GPSNR has seen membership grow to include civil society members. The GPSNR remains open to membership applications from natural rubber stakeholders.
The General Assembly saw the approval of the organisation’s Statutes and Code of Conduct, and the formation of an Executive Committee that has the mandate of overseeing the strategic and operational activities of the GPSNR.
As required by the Statutes, there is a multi-stakeholder committee. PEFC International Vice Chair, Genevieve Chua, attended as a voting member at the General Assembly. South East Asia Representative Richard Laity and Keterina Chong are in the Smallholder, and Strategy & objectives Working Group respectively.
Focusing on smallholders
Richard Laity drew the attention of the General Assembly to the importance of including direct representation on GPNSR of smallholders who make up to 75% of rubber producers in South East Asia.
“We need to ensure GPNSR has positive impacts for smallholders and we need to fully appreciate these impacts, as well as measure the risks to this initiative if smallholders are not adequately represented,” Mr Laity noted.
He explained that it is in PEFC’s DNA to meet the needs of smallholders in the forestry sector, and as approximately 85% of rubber production globally comes from smallholders, it is essential that they are meaningfully represented in this new platform.
Without analyzing the data globally, a recent field survey indicated that 3,000 hectares of rubber plantation in Riau Province, Indonesia are already within PEFC certified areas. In addition, thousands of cubic meters of product are being sold with a PEFC Controlled Source verified, meeting emerging market requirements.
The work can begin
The formation of the GPNSR gives strong commitment to sustainability by key market players in the rubber production and supply chain globally.
GPSNR Director Stefano Savi told the meeting: “We know that the real hard work lies ahead, but today from Singapore we send a clear message – the GPSNR is open for business.”
Following proceedings from Geneva, Peter Bakker, WBCSD’s President and CEO said “Today, our members are joined by a growing and increasingly well-balanced GPSNR membership of rubber value chain and civil society members – the actors are in place, and the foundations for transformative action along the natural rubber value chain have been laid. Now the real work can begin.”