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4 weeks ago

Sumitomo Participates in “PROJECT TREE” to Improve Sustainability of Natural Rubber Industry

We are pleased to announce that SUMITOMO RUBBER SINGAPORE PTE. LTD., a natural rubber procurement company for the Sumitomo Rubber Group, participated in March in “PROJECT TREE,”*1 an initiative led by ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO) to improve the sustainability of the natural rubber industry. Through participation in this project, we will accelerate our initiatives to improve the traceability and sustainability of the natural rubber supply chain.

Natural rubber is a natural resource that is vital in modern society. About 70% of global natural rubber consumption is in the production of tires, but approximately 85% of global production relies on smallholders, mainly in Southeast Asia such as Thailand and Indonesia. The existing agricultural practice used by smallholders have limitations and there are concerns about illegal logging, human rights issues, traditional farming techniques and other concerns.

In striving to be a corporate group that contributes to the realization of a sustainable society, the Sumitomo Rubber Group has long been actively engaged in various efforts to improve the sustainability of our business activities. One of the most important of these efforts is working toward achieving sustainable natural rubber, as natural rubber is the primary raw material in our main product: tires. We promote initiatives including carrying out risk assessment/reduction activities*2 using application software that enables the mapping of natural rubber supply chains.

By participating in the PROJECT TREE, we will further promote our initiatives to improve the traceability and sustainability of the supply chain. Through this project, we will promote activities to support smallholder farmers, such as activities to identify/mitigate smallholder farmers’ risks associated with sustainability and their capacity building for yield increase. In addition, we will strive to comply with the EU Deforestation Regulation*3 by using a blockchain technology and through the “TREE + (plus) rubber” procurement, which provides excellent traceability.

Farmers use the application to record traceability data The Sumitomo Rubber Group can identify farms that are subject to the EU Deforestation Regulation

 

We unveiled our own unique Circular Economy Concept for the Tire Industry, which we call TOWANOWA, *4 in March 2023. TOWANOWA features a two-ring structure, with a “Sustainable Ring” consisting of five processes in the value chain and a “Data Ring” linking big data collected from each process. We aim to provide new value by sharing/using data between the two rings.

We aim for sustainable raw material procurement for natural rubber in the “Material Development & Procurement” process of TOWANOWA. We will continue to proactively promote initiatives in collaboration with all the stakeholders, including those making up the supply chain, to achieve a society where natural rubber is sustainable.

Tire and Rubber Association of Canada

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