Report: Rubber Used by Leading European Tire Makers Linked to Forest Loss in Africa
Top European tire makers, including France’s Michelin and Germany’s Continental AG, are sourcing rubber from agribusinesses implicated in deforestation and undermining land rights in western and central Africa, a report by the non-profit Global Witness found.
Rubber is used to manufacture everything from shoes to condoms, but three-quarters of the world’s natural rubber ends up in tires. The EU consumes over a million tons of natural rubber every year, but does not produce any of it, depending entirely on imports from Southeast Asia and Africa.
Its vast appetite for imported goods makes the EU the second largest importer of deforestation after China. In 2017, the bloc was linked to 16% of the tropical forest loss generated by global trade. With the EU seeking to tighten import rules for forest-risk commodities this year, rubber is facing renewed scrutiny since its import isn’t currently subject to these timber regulations.
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