FAIR RUBBER SUPPLIER PARTNERS
At present the Fair Rubber Association is cooperating with the following suppliers of Fairly Traded natural rubber: Frocester, a plantation in Sri Lanka and the first partner (products sourced from this supply chain include i.a. sneakers and hot water bottles), New Ambadi, a plantation in South India (i.a. mattresses and condoms), Lalan Rubbers Ltd., a group of plantations in Sri Lanka (i.a. household gloves and mattresses), the Green Net Cooperative, Thailand, an association of small coconut and rubber farmers (i.a. flip flops), the ASR, a small farmers’ association in Sri Lanka, the Small Farmer Group Hat Yai in Thailand, and the Group of Rubber Tappers in Indonesia. Fair Rubber is open for cooperation with new producer partners, provided that such an expansion of the supplier base is justified by a matching demand for products made with Fairly Traded natural rubber products.
FROCESTER PLANTATION IN THE SOUTH OF SRI LANKA
THE GREEN NET COOPERATIVE FROM THAILAND
The Green Net Cooperative (GNC) is a registered is a registered “Service Cooperative” under the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative since 1993. GNC is a social enterprise working to promote organic farming and fair trade. 66 of its farmer members are certified organic for coconuts – and now rubber as well. Of special importance from a Fair Trade perspective: The farmers will share any Fair Trade benefits from the Fair Trade premium with the people who do the tapping – often migrant workers (see picture: Tapping is done at night/early in the morning, when it is cool: as soon as the sun comes up the latex milk coagulates too quickly). The rubber from Green Net will go into flip flops.
SMALL FARMER GROUP HAT YAI, THAILAND
In the Southern tip of Thailand some 44 small farmers got together in the Hat Yai district and formed the “Klong Pom Phatthana 95“ association. This makes it possible for them to participate in the Fair Rubber project: From now on the members of the Fair Rubber Association can pay a Fair Trade premium for natural rubber sourced from the group’s members. Which means that at current (2020: extremely low) world market prices they can at least cover their costs, which will allow them to make a living for themselves and their families from tapping rubber.
The latex milk harvested is taken to a processor near Hat Yai.
LALAN RUBBERS LTD. IN SRI LANKA
NEW AMBADI, INDIA
The New Ambadi Plantation is located at the in the extreme South of India, very close to Cape Kanyakumari. By rubber standards New Ambadi is small – ca. 170 workers ad their families – but special in a number of ways: Its on site centrifuge unit focuses on high quality liquid latex, which is sought after by condom manufacturers, but also is used in mattresses and other applications. It is also a pioneer partner in Fair Trade – being one of the first to sign up to the concept. No wonder, as its management company has a reputation for high corporate social standards. The free plantation hospital e.g. caters for all surrounding villagers, too. In its use of Fair Trade premiums New Ambadi broke new ground, too, the joint body installed the first ever supplementary pension fund for rubber workers anywhere in the world.
ASR - LATEX FARMER'S DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION, SRI LANKA
This association has some 400 members, who all supply their raw material to Associated Speciality Rubbers (ASR), where the natural rubber is either made into all kinds of dry rubber qualities, or into centrifuged (liquid) rubber. ASR is an unusual processor, as they have tried to give their small holder suppliers a better price – but market pressures make that impossible. It is hoped that the Fair Trade premium paid by Fair Rubber Association logo users can fill the gap. The Annual General Meeting annually elects a committee: all of the 20 ASR latex collection centres have to be represented by at least one person, and/or one representative for every 15 farmers. Members pay a small monthly fee, but in turn get a free food packet at X-Mas from ASR which is worth more than the membership fee. If Fair Trade sales pick up, it is hoped that another 400 small farmers supplying ASR (but not members of the Association yet) will join.
GROUP OF RUBBER TAPPERS IN INDONESIA
Rubber production in Indonesia often differs somewhat from other regions of the world: Often it is not the owners of the land and rubber trees that do the tapping – instead they hire so called ‘tappers’: These are usually labourers who do not own land and have to sell their labour, i.e. they are at the bottom of the economic hierarchy.
Furthermore, most of the natural rubber is not collected in its liquid shape (‘latex milk’), but left in the collection cup as ‘cup lump’ (which mainly goes into tyre manufacturing). Some 377 tappers in the Lebak Bante region (some 2-3 hours by car from Jakarta) have come together to form the “Yayasan Adil Makmur Sejahtera Cikulur” association. This organization makes it possible for the group to participate (with the help of the initial purchasing agent and the primary processor nearby) to be recipients of the Fair Trade premium for all natural rubber purchased by a member of the Fair Rubber Association. This extra income allows them, after years of low pricing, to live from the wages of tapping again, rather than migrate to the city for other work.