It only takes a look out the window to realize that our planet and its climate is changing at a rapid pace. Sourcing resources in a sustainable way therefore becomes mandatory, especially for big companies such as the BMW Group, for example. That’s why the Bavarians have been involved in a variety of projects aiming at improving the way we exploit the resources at hand, from cobalt to rubber. BMW announced this week the launch of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR).

The platform was created thanks to the involvement of social institutions, NGOs and the rubber processing industry and aims at making the entire rubber value chain veritably sustainable. This is a rather logical approach once you realize that the automotive industry is one of the world’s largest consumers of natural rubber. BMW alone needs around 24,000 tons of rubber a year for tires alone. But there’s more rubber used in a car today, than just in the tires.

Rubber is made from the latex milk collected from rubber trees. In most cases, cultivation takes place in monocultures in Southeast Asia, across an area spanning more than eight million hectares. Over 80 percent of natural rubber is grown on very small farms – making it difficult to monitor social and environmental growing conditions. All GPSNR founding members have committed to improve social and environmental conditions for cultivation and urge their business partners towards more sustainability.

Additional measures will be implemented to combat deforestation and ensure greater supply chain transparency. Over 200 of the world’s leading companies work together in the the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) – which is one of the organizations involved in the GPSNR in the first place – to drive progress in the field of sustainable development. More than 40 organizations and institutions are currently participating in the GPSNR – primarily tire manufacturers, suppliers, the automotive industry and NGOs committed to the environment and improving working conditions at international level.