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Mandy Geddert , CHARLE - premium haberdashery
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FAIR RUBBER - MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE - Fair Rubber - Challenges in the cultivation and trade of natural rubber

Natural rubber

Caoutchouc Tree | credit: nattanan_zia

We only use natural rubber and no synthetic rubber in the production of our organic elastics. Natural rubber is obtained from the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis. This tree grows 30° south and north of the equator in the so-called rubber belt. The rubber is harvested by scratching the bark of the tree and allowing the latex to flow into small rubber buckets in a special way without damaging the tree. This latex must then be further processed in order to be preserved.

Here you can find more details about the processing.

The challenges

Natural rubber is in great demand worldwide. 75 % of natural rubber alone is needed for the production of tires. Due to the high demand and low world market prices for natural rubber, ecological and social problems arise in the countries where it is grown. Farmers and producers can only live poorly or not at all from their work, chemicals are used, and tropical forests have to make way for rubber plantations. In this extract from a study von Aidenviroment you can find out more about the problem of falling world market prices for natural rubber.

The rubber that we process comes from Malaysia. Our supplier is expressly opposed to child labor and complies with local social standards. That's good, but not good enough. We want to take another important step.

Fair Rubber Logo | credit: Fair Rubber

Fair Rubber e.V.

Since October of this year, we have been a member of Fair Rubber e. order to campaign specifically for fair living and working conditions for rubber farmers and suppliers and to be able to map our supply structure more transparently. We pay an annual membership fee to enable audits of the producers so that they do not have to pay for them themselves. In addition, we undertake to pay a fair trade premium to the farmers/producers. Fair Rubber e.V. ensures that the premiums go exactly where they are supposed to go. There are no subcontractors in between. This approach ensures proximity to the producers, transparency between all parties involved and co-operation on an equal footing.

Fairness needs to become the norm

Our aim is to persuade our current rubber supplier in Malaysia to enter into a partnership with Fair Rubber e.V. and thus promote the trade in fair rubber. If we do not succeed in taking this step, we will have to find other suppliers who will go down this path with us. There is currently no partnership between Fair Rubber e.V. and a supplier of fair rubber threads of the kind we need for our elastic products. Together with Fair Rubber e.V., we are trying to establish a fair and consistent supply chain for natural rubber threads.