Michelin Group, world leading tyre manufacturer and first world buyer of natural rubber, recently published a zero deforestation procurement policy based on the methodology High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach.
Reactions have however trailed the development with, for instance, Greenpeace commending the action but demanded that the tyre manufacturer should do more.
Cécile Leuba, Forest campaigner for Greenpeace France, submitted: “The announcement by the Michelin group to commit to a zero deforestation natural rubber procurement policy sends a strong signal to the entire rubber sector: it will soon be more difficult to sell natural rubber that contributes to deforestation.
“This zero deforestation commitment is just the first step: Michelin must now ensure its implementation and quickly stop sourcing from rubber growers who refuse to commit to producing zero deforestation rubber. This starts with Socfin which, is an important supplier for Michelin’s natural rubber.”
In February and May 2016, Greenpeace France published two reports, with the support of investigations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon and Liberia highlighting how Socfin’s concessions included primary forests, but also secondary forests that store significant amounts of carbon. But the company refuses to make a Zero Deforestation commitment worthy of the name, notes Greenpeace.
The group adds that Michelin’s commitment to protect all “High Carbon Stock” (HCS) forests confirms that the HCS Approach is today the only standard enabling corporations to implement a real “zero deforestation” commitment.
“After the Zero Deforestation commitment of more than 75% of the palm oil sector, as well as major pulp and paper producers in tropical areas, it is now the rubber industry stakeholders who are adopting this methodology,” says Leuba. “The decision of the Michelin group increases the risk for Socfin of being marginalised and the risk to find themselves in non-compliance with procurement policies of their major customers.”
Greenpeace France calls on all Socfin’s customers, palm oil and natural rubber consumer, to ensure that their commercial relations with Socfin continue only on the basis of implementation of a zero deforestation policy based on the HCS Approach methodology.