PEFC Is Here
Natural rubber is a commodity essential to our modern way of life. It appears in places we expected it, like tyres, and in places we don’t, like in pacemakers. Sometimes it is a very visible product, like the latex gloves a doctor puts on before giving us a vaccination. Sometimes it is more invisible, like the rubber plunger inside the syringe that our doctor is holding.
But wherever rubber is used, we can make the choice to do so sustainably. And wherever rubber is used, PEFC is ready to help connect manufacturers with certified suppliers. That’s the idea behind “PEFC is Here” - from plantations in southeast asia, to manufacturers around the world, to the shoes of billions of feet, and the tyres on billions of cars.
PEFC is the right choice
PEFC is the choice of rubber smallholder farmers worldwide for sustainability certification, and of processors and manufacturers up and down the rubber supply chain. Despite how essential natural rubber is, few people realize that almost all of it is produced not by large companies, but rather by more than six million smallholders, mostly in Southeast Asia. These small forest owners produce 85% of the world’s rubber, and PEFC is committed to ensuring they have the tools and support necessary to get the job done in a sustainable way.
Sustainable rubber cultivation is important for forests and for people
Because rubber is ubiquitous and demand is increasing, it is important that all of the different companies along the supply chain work together and make a commitment to sustainability. More than 70% of the rubber produced ends up being used by the tire industry, and as car sales continue to increase with rising income levels globally, the pressures on forest owners will also multiply.
Transitioning to sustainable natural rubber production means better wages, fewer chemical pesticides, and more technical assistance. The goal is for smallholders to not only improve their management and protection of precious natural resources, but to improve their quality of life through productivity gains on their plantations. This will in turn reduce the pressure to convert or expand their plantations into less environmentally friendly crops through unsustainable practices such as burning.
Small forest owners trust PEFC
PEFC is the certification system of choice for forest owners and rubber smallholders. This is because PEFC understands the unique challenges that smaller-scale plantation owners face. We respect national definitions of ecologically important areas, and operate inclusively with local stakeholders, in the local language. Most importantly, PEFC allows for large scale group certifications which reduces the individual burdens of certification, and more easily allows smallholders to reach sustainable forest management goals.
Small forest owners also trust PEFC because they know that it uses only ISO-compliant certification bodies. This means that there is an independent layer of oversight to the certification process that ensures a rigorous standard without placing additional burden on the forest owner. In fact, PEFC is the only global forest certification system that has this truly independent oversight mechanism, which eliminates the risk of politically motivated certification decisions.
A total supply chain solution
The rubber supply chain includes many companies that process raw materials and manufacture finished goods. In order for smallholders to have better access to the market for their certified rubber, the supply chain must also be certified. That is why PEFC’s approach looks at the entire supply chain. Chain of Custody certification for these companies works to maintain the sanctity of the Sustainable Forest Management certification achieved by smallholders, part of an integrated and holistic solution for a complex supply chain.