WORDS ARE CHEAP
A lot of well known companies from car and tyre makers to shoe brands have recently signed a pledge to switch to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified rubber – once it is available. These pledges come cheap to those who make them: There is no price premium for FSC certified rubber, the criteria are all about the environment. Those who have to fulfil them pay the price: During a recent trip to Thailand we met a company that does have FSC certification: They employ 12 full time staff to ensure compliance with FSC criteria for the 1,500 small farmers they buy from. Together with the cost of certification they said their input costs have increased by 30%. Their buyer pays no-thing extra to cover the extra costs – they simply put FSC as a requirement – otherwise they’d take their business elsewhere. The Fair Rubber Association is different, we put money behind our pledge. We, too, promote environmental standards, they are part of the Fair Trade rubber criteria. But the Fair Rubber Association not only pays for the audits it requires, its members also pay a Fair Trade premium of EUR 0.50/kg DRC (Dry Rubber Content) of natural rubber: At present almost 50% above the market price.