In Singapore, natural rubber maker Halcyon Agri has is calling on suppliers, manufacturers and stakeholders to develop and adopt sustainability standards for the natural rubber industry. Dubbed BOUNCE, the initiative aims to create industry and consumer awareness for fair, equitable and sustainable natural rubber.
Demand for natural rubber reached 14 million tonnes last year, with 92% of that volume produced by 6 million subsistence small farmers across South-East Asia and Africa. Unsustainably low rubber prices have put immense pressure on those famers and the natural environments they work in, leaving the natural rubber industry “on the verge of collapse.” An outdated pricing system, severe pay inequality in and underinvested and uneducated farming practices have left many smallholders facing financial ruin, having caused significant deforestation when prices were excessively high only a few years ago, Halcyon Agri says.
“When buying almost any other product, consumers have a sustainable or fair-trade option to consider – and increasingly they are making that choice,” says Robert Meyer, CEO of Halcyon Agri. “The end goal for BOUNCE is to be a hallmark for sustainable rubber produced in a fair and equitable manner to all supply chain participants. This will allow the producers of products that contain natural rubber to carry the BOUNCE hallmark all the way through to the final consumer who can in turn make an educated choice.”