Sumitomo Rubber has established a natural rubber procurement subsidiary – Sumitomo Rubber Singapore Pte. Ltd – in Singapore, the world’s largest natural rubber trading hub, with the aim of ensuring a more stable supply of high-quality natural rubber to meet the company’s needs. When it begins operations in April, the newly established subsidiary will take over procurement activities from Sumitomo’s Natural Rubber Division tyre sales subsidiary in Singapore (Sumitomo Rubber Asia (Tyre) Pte. Ltd).
The Sumitomo Rubber Group said that it determined that in order to reliably procure high-quality natural rubber, there was a strong need for a procurement system spearheaded by a locally situated organisation responsible for and capable of handling both procurement and outward-looking efforts such as GPSNR (Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber).
GPSNR, launched in October 2018, is an organisation of several stakeholders involved in natural rubber industry, including tyre manufacturers, and its aim to create ‘a fair, equitable and environmentally sound natural rubber value chain’ and ‘lead improvements in the socioeconomic and environmental performance’ of that industry.As a founding member, the Sumitomo Rubber Group has since been actively engaged in activities that aim to ensure a sustainable future for natural rubber.
Sumitomo said that in spite of rising global consumption of natural rubber in recent years, output is anticipated to decline in the major natural rubber production centres of Asia. As such, there is now a growing need for a global approach to natural rubber procurement. At the same time, when it comes to securing a stable supply of high-quality natural rubber, the business environment is currently undergoing a series of major changes that pose various challenges, as mergers and market withdrawals within the natural rubber industry create greater risks of monopolies, price fluctuations and other potential issues in various markets.
The company added that with the potential for human rights abuses, deforestation and other problems that may arise in the process of producing natural rubber coming under sharper scrutiny from the viewpoint of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is a now a greater demand for considerations from the perspective of human rights and the environment in the procurement process toward realising sustainable procurement of natural rubber.