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4 May 2015

Megan Macinnes, Global Witness

New Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative draft falls short on intl. standards, says Global Witness

"Is the rubber industry dragging its heels on sustainability?", 1 May 2015

[A]cross the Mekong region,...large-scale rubber plantations are now one of the main drivers of land grabs and deforestation. The launch of the Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative...offered hope that the industry was beginning to respond. A multi-stakeholder initiative, it is aimed at promoting the development of best sustainability practices in the rubber sector globally, including by conserving protected forest areas, and respecting human and labour rights. The standards set out in the Initiative’s recently published draft policy, however, contain worrying holes and anomalies...[T]he Initiative’s stated principles fall significantly short of industry-led standards for comparable commodities like timber and palm oil. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, for example, requires that members obtain the consent of local communities for any operations which could negatively affect them, in an effort to respect and protect local land rights...[T]he Sustainable Rubber Initiative ignores the issue altogether. Also, the Initiatives’ recognition of human rights is currently limited to labour rights, ignoring critical human rights considerations such as the right to food and housing. We also have concerns about how the Initiative will be implemented...[refers to Olam]