Rubber industry eyes sustainability

The Vietnamese rubber industry is targeting sustainable development in addition to trademarks development and higher-quality products, speakers said at a seminar held on June 14 in HCM City.

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Tran Thi Thuy Hoa, head of the rubber industry development board under the Vietnam Rubber Association, noted that the industry and the association were working on sustainable development solutions.

Rubber companies today are expected to not only make profits but also contribute to society and maintain sustainable growth, she said.

International certificates on sustainable growth are available from the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative (SNR-I) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

Around 45 companies worldwide are part of the SNR-I. They include 31 manufacturers and exporters, and 14 rubber consumers and processors.

As of January this year, 11 companies had joined WBCSD.

“Big companies and processors have committed to sustainable growth. They buy rubber from providers that have a sustainable development plan, so domestic companies should follow this trend,” Hoa said.

Bridgestone, for example, has elevated standards in its sustainable procurement practices by launching a new policy for supplier and partners, she noted.

Bridgestone notes on its website that “Minimum requirements strengthen existing guidance for respect of human rights, environmental standards and product quality, while including additional requirements for land conservation and rights, point of origin traceability and resilience.”

Hoa said that companies like Olam and Sri Trang Group also include information about sustainable development on their websites.

In Vietnam, the Vietnam Rubber Group is the first rubber company to commit to sustainable development, according to Hoa.

The rubber association will continue to develop a trademark for Vietnamese rubber and implement sustainable development programmes, she said.

It is also working with organisations to improve members’ awareness about sustainable development, and will offer support to members to join sustainable development projects.

Vietnam is one of the biggest rubber exporters in the world, with products exported to 128 nations and territories.

In May, the country exported 93,000 tonnes of rubber, worth US$133 million. For the first five months of this year, the total export yield was 424,000 tonnes, valued at $620 million, up by 17 per cent in volume.

China, India and Malaysia are the three biggest importers of Vietnam’s rubber.

A report from the Vietnam Rubber Association said that by the end of 2017, the country had 971,600ha of rubber trees, with a yield of over 1.08 million tonnes, accounting for 8.3 per cent of the total world yield.

Vietnamnews

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