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Natural Rubber

In 2008, ETRMA members committed to work together on three themes related to natural rubber (NR) under the framework of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials:

  • to ensure fair and sustainable access to Natural Rubber;
  • to diversify NR supply in geographical terms - to reduce dependency from South East Asia;
  • to diversify NR supply in sourcing terms - expanding research into alternative sources, such as the Kazakh dandelion and guayule.

 

10 years later ....

  • Natural Rubber is recognised as a Cricital Raw Material by the EU, acquiring a priority status in EU policies - from trade to research;
  • more than 20% of Natural Rubber used in the EU is now sourced from Africa;
  • research projects on dandelion and guayule in Europe are now ready to be scaled to production volumes to supply users of rubber in both the tyre and the non-tyre rubber industries;
  • initiatives on Natural Rubber sustainability have been launched: SNR-I in the context of the IRSG (International Rubber Study Group) and the Tire Industry Project's Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), under the auspices of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD);
  • despite this demonstrable progress, the situation regarding the sustainable sourcing of Natural Rubber remains challenging.  ETRMA, together with EU and international institutions, will exert themselves to continue on this path of diversification.  Matching this Natural Rubber agenda with the environmental agenda of the EU will continue to be a priority.  This priority includes a focus on low carbon strategies.  One such is the strong potential for rubber trees to sequester carbon.  Another is the potential to build a circular economy around NR.