Hankook Strengthens Policy to Foster a Sustainable Value Chain for Natural Rubber

Premium tyre maker Hankook further fosters sustainability across its value chain for natural rubber, a primary raw material for tyres. The company had established a sustainable natural rubber policy in 2018 and is a member of Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), an international membership driven platform set up to define sustainability for natural rubber value chain. Through the policy, each party of the natural rubber value chain, including producers, processors, traders and manufacturers are obliged not only to comply with the laws and regulations of the countries in which they operate but also to fulfill Hankook’s requirements updated in compliance with the new GSPNR policy across diverse fields such as human rights, environmental protection and management transparency.

Guidelines for human rights include protecting land tenure rights of indigenous people and local communities based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. In terms of environmental protection, prevention of deforestation, prevention of water pollution caused by the use of chemicals, prevention of resource depletion is regulated. Hankook is committed to restoring natural forests and ecosystems along with endangered species and wildlife as well as to mitigating GHG emissions. Efforts should also be made to enhance transparency of the complex natural rubber value chain, which ranges from producers to end users.

Hankook plans to increase its material efficiency to identify the most suitable cultivation practices while encouraging smallholders to receive related training. The company also actively supports partners to implement the policy. In addition, Hankook will conduct assessment towards their partners to evaluate their compliance with the policy at least once every two years.

“Sustainability is an agenda that we cannot compromise, and value chains are an integral part of sustainability management plan today. We know that for the future to be sustainable, we must reframe the way we operate and do our business with all the stakeholders involved,’’ says Sooil Lee, President and CEO of Hankook Tire & Technology. “As a member of the GPSNR, we are committed to legal compliance, community livelihoods, healthy, functioning ecosystems, and respecting all human rights in natural rubber procurement and production. Together with our supply chain partners, we will help improve the quality of life of the natural rubber cultivators, upgrade quality of natural rubber and minimize environmental impact.’’

Stefano Savi, GPSNR Platform Director adds “Hankook’s alignment with the GPSNR’s policy framework reflects their commitment to a fair, equitable and sustainable natural rubber value chain. As more and more member companies align with the policy framework, we believe this is a step ahead for the industry at large as GPSNR finds 50 precent of the natural rubber demand represented in its membership.’’

Hankook is continuously working towards promoting a healthy and sustainable global community, taking the topic of sustainability seriously. As a result, starting with its first inclusion on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices in 2011, the company has been listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) World for five consecutive years from 2016 to 2020.

The updated Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy, which is in line with the GPSNR policy framework, can be found on Hankook’s website under the Sustainability section.