Our latest Guns, Cronies and Compounds exposé demonstrated that the human toll of this rubber sector in Myanmar, in which firms colluded together with the prior military junta to capture huge tracts of land in farming communities. Stories such as these abound throughout the Mekong area, where large scale rubber plantations are presently one of the principal drivers of land captures and deforestation.
Even a multi-stakeholder initiative, it’s geared toward boosting the growth of best sustainability practices from the rubber industry worldwide, such as by preserving protected forest regions, and respecting individual and labor rights. The criteria set out at the Initiative’s newly released draft coverage, nevertheless, include stressing holes and anomalies.
The Initiative’s mentioned principles fall substantially short of industry-led criteria for similar commodities such as timber and palm oil. Even the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, by way of instance, demands that members get the approval of local communities to get almost any operations that could negatively impact them in an endeavor to honor and safeguard local property rights. Agribusiness giant Olam has included this provision because of its policy for renewable rubber, demonstrating it could be done – however, the Rubber Initiative dismisses the problem entirely. Additionally, the Initiatives’ comprehension of individual rights is now restricted to labor rights, dismissing crucial human rights factors like the right to food and home.
In addition, we have concerns about the way the Initiative will be put into place. This can be a cheap and effortless method of promoting sustainability, however since high-street consumers don’t have any means of knowing which products include accredited rubber, these methods have a small positive influence on the earth. This has to be replaced with a totally transparent distribution chain, in which it’s simple to trace rubberized back to its origin.
The Initiative’s success also depends upon the businesses which register sharing info internally and with the general public about how they’re fulfilling commitments – a second bit missing from the present policy. With this info, families that have lost their property to rubber businesses will not have the ability to use its principles to guard their rights. The Initiative also exceeds steps for if things go wrong — for instance, what should happen to member firms when they don’t satisfy its own standards or the way communities may submit complaints.
A recent study at the University of East Anglia revealed how projected rubber growth is a danger not just to inhabitants however to our surroundings, pointing to devastating impacts on biodiversity throughout Southeast Asia along with also a significant worsening of their extinction crisis.
The Natural Rubber Initiative has to do much longer to jelqing and decrease its effect. Providentially, that the Initiative remains in draft form, and its associates have promised to update it in ancient 2016. Global Witness has been working hard with rubber businesses and the business bodies on the other side of the initiative and also people think it’s a significant step to receiving the business on the ideal path. The business response has to be bolstered if its aims to protect individuals’ rights and the environment should be taken seriously.