The natural rubber value chain is vast, and complex. The first link in this chain is on millions of small plantations, 80% of which are in Southeast Asia. From there, the rubber is processed and exported, ultimately ending up in the hands of consumers all around the world who use the more than 40,000 products that contain natural rubber. PEFC offers certification guidance for every actor on this value chain. Read below to understand the different types of certification, and understand how you can get certified.
Growers and Smallholders
For individual smallholders and larger-scale industrial growers, there is PEFC Sustainable Forest Management certification. Similar to the SFM certification used by forest owners for sustainably harvesting timber, this certifies forest management practices that enhance the long-term productivity of plantations, reduces pressure on adjacent wild forest areas, and gives buyers confidence that the rubber they are procuring has been harvested in an environmentally sustainable way.
The criteria to meet certification are internationally recognized, and established collaboratively with local stakeholders, in the local language. The certification process is conducted and audited independently, to ensure transparency.
Many of the 6 million plantations that produce most of the world’s natural rubber are owned by smallholders who own less than 5 hectares of forest. For smallholders operating at this scale, the costs in time and resources to obtain an individual certification can present a barrier to entry.
PEFC, which was founded more than 20 years ago by a group of small and family forest owners, is committed to providing certification options for growers large and small. That’s why we developed a group certification option, which allows smallholders to organize themselves, pool their resources and work as a team to achieve certification. Around one million small forest owners have already achieved certification through this mechanism, and the number continues to grow.
Importers, Exporters and Manufacturers
The supply chain for goods that use natural rubber components is massive. It has a total value of USD300 billion, and is carried out by the work of an estimated 40 million people (IRSG, 2019). The most significant actor on this value chain is the tyre industry, which accounts for 70% of the world’s natural rubber use. But there are also many other actors that import or export natural rubber, or manufacture products that use natural rubber components. This includes rubberwood, which is both a byproduct of rubber plantations, and the world’s most widely-traded tropical hardwood.
PEFC supports Chain of Custody certification for the entire value chain. To earn PEFC Chain of Custody certification, companies must develop and implement procedures to account for the purchasing, tracking, manufacturing, sale and recordkeeping of certified rubber and rubberwood materials.
Certification for Everybody
PEFC is committed to providing certification options for growers large and small, and to any company that manufactures, processes, trades or sells products containing natural rubber, or rubberwood.
Part of our campaign to Support Sustainable Rubber also includes raising awareness about the importance of sustainably harvested rubber, so that your buyers and customers better understand the value that you are providing when you achieve certification.