Press release | Nov. 13, 2017

New Pirelli policy progressive step forward in the fight against land grabs and deforestation – Global Witness

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Global Witness welcomes a new sourcing policy on rubber launched by Italian tyre giant Pirelli. 

The policy, which commits Pirelli to no land-grabs and no-deforestation, could help prevent the kinds of human rights abuses and environmental destruction that Global Witness investigations into rubber expansion have helped expose. The company has also adopted a ‘no burn’ policy, as well as no development on peatland – a major source of greenhouse gases.

Pirelli’s policy has been developed in association with Global Witness and other organisations. [i]

Ali Hines of the Global Witness land team said: “Global Witness’s investigations have revealed the violent land grabs and devastation of forests caused by the rapidly expanding operations of unscrupulous rubber companies in the Mekong region. Left unchecked, this rubber risks being bought by tyre companies that have become household names globally. Global Witness commends Pirelli for developing  a progressive sourcing policy for natural rubber which will helps ensure its supply chains are free from tainted rubber.”

Pirelli is not the only company to have adopted a sourcing policy for natural rubber. Michelin, the French tyre manufacturer,  introduced its own sourcing policy on natural rubber in 2016, marking a major shift in the largely unregulated industry.[ii]  In addition, last month saw Chinese industry launch guidelines for Chinese rubber companies operating overseas as well as international rubber companies.

Bridgestone, Continental and Goodyear are yet to introduce rigorous standards to prevent tainted rubber from entering their supply chains.

Hines said: “Whilst we welcome Pirelli’s new policy, the real importance lies in its implementation. [iii]Companies must prove their supply chains are clean, through robust sourcing policies as well as through regular reporting. Only then can they be sure that they are on track to eliminating deforestation and land grabs from their supply chains. And with two of the biggest tyre companies having taken the lead on this, it is crucial the remaining companies follow suit.[iv]



Notes to editor:

[i] Key elements of Pirelli’s sourcing policy include:

  • Respecting and protecting local communities rights related to land and other natural resources. This includes Indigenous Peoples’ right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent;
  • Commitment to zero-deforestation using the ‘High Conservation Value’ and ‘High Carbon Stocks’ approach (as per international guidelines);
  • Public reporting on the mapping and traceability of Pirelli’s natural rubber supply chain

[ii] Tyre giant Michelin launched its new Sustainable Natural Rubber Sourcing Policy in 2016 which commits the company to zero-deforestation and the protection of land rights in all its operations. The company aims to map 100% of its suppliers to ensure full traceability of its supply chain.

[iii] Pirelli is also developing an implementation manual to accompany its sourcing policy on natural rubber.

[iv] The biggest five tyre companies in terms of market value globally are Bridgestone, Michelin, Continental, Goodyear and Pirelli.

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