Hankook has updated its sustainable natural rubber policy in alignment with the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) policy framework.

The company established a sustainable natural rubber policy in 2018 and is a member of GPSNR, an international membership driven platform set up to define sustainability for natural rubber value chain.

Through the policy, each party of the natural rubber value chain, including producers, processors, traders and manufacturers are obliged not only to comply with the laws and regulations of the countries in which they operate, but also to fulfil Hankook’s requirements updated in compliance with the new GSPNR policy across fields such as human rights, environmental protection and management transparency.

Guidelines for human rights include protecting land tenure entitlements of indigenous people and local communities based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. In terms of environmental protection, prevention of deforestation, water pollution caused by the use of chemicals and resource depletion, is regulated.

Hankook is committed to restoring natural forests and ecosystems along with endangered species and wildlife as well as to mitigating GHG emissions. Efforts should also be made to enhance transparency of the complex natural rubber value chain, which ranges from producers to end users.

Hankook added it plans to increase its material efficiency to identify the most suitable cultivation practices while encouraging smallholders to receive related training. The company also supports partners to implement the policy. In addition, Hankook will conduct assessment towards partners to evaluate compliance with the policy at least once every two years.

“Sustainability is an agenda we cannot compromise and value chains are an integral part of [the] sustainability management plan today,” said Hankook Tire & Technology president and CEO, Sooil Lee.

“We know for the future to be sustainable, we must reframe the way we operate and do our business with all stakeholders involved.

“As a member of the GPSNR, we are committed to legal compliance, community livelihoods, healthy, functioning ecosystems and respecting all human rights in natural rubber procurement and production. Together with our supply chain partners, we will help improve the quality of life of the natural rubber cultivators, upgrade quality of natural rubber and minimise environmental impact.’’

For his part, GPSNR Platform director, Stefano Savi, added: “Hankook’s alignment with the GPSNR’s policy framework reflects their commitment to a fair, equitable and sustainable natural rubber value chain.

“As more and more member companies align with the policy framework, we believe this is a step ahead for the industry at large, as GPSNR finds 50% of the natural rubber demand represented in its membership.’’