Mighty Earth Activists Call on Michelin to Take Lead in Push for Sustainable Natural Rubber

Company can push for industry-wide standard that matches its own commitments

GREENVILLE, S.C. – With a critical vote approaching, more than a dozen protesters assembled outside Michelin’s American headquarters to urge the tire company to be a leader in sustainability.

Michelin has already rolled out a sustainability policy that has strong criteria regarding procurement for its rubber – and consequences for non-compliant suppliers. However, in upcoming deliberations around the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) - a Platform that, as currently set up, would fail to prevent deforestation for natural rubber - Michelin can support measures that will help create a successful industry-wide standard.

“When buying tires, people should only have to think about performance and safety, not whether or not they are contributing to the destruction of wildlife,” said Manusha Jayasinghe, Field Organizer, Mighty Earth, “Michelin has made it clear that they want to be a leader in the fight for sustainable natural rubber. It’s time for the company to match their commitments with action.”

“Michelin has an opportunity to advance a global solution for the industry,” said Jayasinghe “Our hope is that today, on the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Michelin North America President Scott Clark’s tenure, Michelin will embrace this opportunity, vote the right way, and help eliminate deforestation from the global rubber supply chain.”

The tire industry accounts for more than 70 percent of global rubber consumption. The industry is, as a result, a major driver of deforestation, which, as a whole, is responsible for approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation for rubber is also destroying the habitats of numerous endangered species – including tigers, gibbons, and elephants – and taking the land of indigenous communities who have lived there for generations.

Mighty Earth has advocated for tire companies like Bridgestone, Goodyear, Continental, Michelin and Pirelli to produce transformative rubber-buying polices – encouraging each company to follow an ambitious timeline to stop deforestation and exploitation in rubber producing countries as quickly as possible. To date, at least 7 companies have adopted some public policy, although most policies fall short of what experts agree is necessary to protect forests, wildlife, and communities, making the success of the GPSNR even more critical.