An Equitable Distribution of Value?

The Global Platform for Sustain-able Natural Rubber, originally founded in October 2018, has recently published a document with the title ‘GPSNR Desired State’: “The Global Platform for Sustain-able Natural Rubber (GPSNR) is committed to creating a sustain-able global natural rubber value chain by ensuring high standards in the following areas: Environmental, Social, Economic.”The document then lists some bullet points for each of these three areas,including this one: “Value Chain Equity” and next to it under the header “What does it mean?” it explains: “Equitable distribution of value from natural rubber within and among beneficiary communities at the local, regional and global levels.”And further on: “… living wages earned by all members of the value chain“. Next to the bullet point ‘Rubber-based Households’ follows this explanation: “Secure and stable incomes from supply flexibility with no significant gaps in yield.”Apart from the fact that it has taken the GPSNR 2.5 years to get to this statement– what does ‘equitable distribution of value’ actually mean? What is a secure and table income, a living wage’ – in terms of dollars and cents? And more importantly: What steps are to be taken to achieve this? The Fair Rubber Association has never spent much time on trying to define a living wage – there are plenty of official minimum wage lists and NGOs trying to define living wages.Instead we have focused on actually trying to address the imbalance of income:On one side rubber tappers and small farmers, whose income does not allow them to send their children to school, on the other the makers and buyers of cars,where the application of the FRA-level of Fair Trade premiums for four tyres would add exactly EUR 6 to the cost of a vehicle. The senior Vice President of one of the biggest tyre making companies once called the level of our Fair Trade premium ‘unrealistic’. Is it? Only the car makers can change that. They are the true tyre customers – they need to act on those well sounding words like ‘secure and stable income’. It is almost shameful to use such lofty words for EUR 6 extra per car– is that the reason why nothing real is happening?