The Natural Rubber Sustainability Program teaches rubber farmers how to maximize rubber extraction while also extending the life of the trees, increasing rubber quality for Pirelli and reducing deforestation.
The Natural Rubber Sustainability Program was developed by Pirelli and Kirana Megatara in 2014 in order to spread awareness of the best growing and tapping techniques for rubber trees to obtain a higher quality and contamination-free rubber. Higher quality rubber means higher revenues for farmers, and improved management of the trees results in reduced rates of deforestation associated with unsustainable practices that degrade plantations.
Each year, the program sees hundreds of farmers taking part in a large event together with their families. The partnership is also investing in the next generation by granting scholarships to local farmers’ children. In 2016, a total of 65 scholarships were granted.
Why you should care
Rubber cultivation has accelerated rapidly over the past ten years and it is expected to continue. Depending on how efficiently the crops are grown, rubber plantations could expand by 8.5 million more hectares of land by 2024, according to one scientific study. Projects that encourage more sustainable rubber tapping practices extend the life of plantations, and thus decrease the need for additional deforestation as existing plantations lose their productivity.