DETROIT -- General Motors said it will commit to buying sustainable natural rubber for the 49 million tires it buys annually, an initiative aimed at helping small rubber farmers while protecting company profits by ensuring the material’s long-term availability.
The automaker today said it is developing a set of purchasing requirements that call for sustainably harvested rubber and encouraging other automakers to follow similar practices to reduce deforestation and uphold human and labor rights.
“This isn’t just about going green,” said David Tulauskas, GM’s director of sustainability. “It’s about driving real business results.”
GM said it wants to only use rubber that does not contribute to deforestation, was harvested in ways that contribute to the economic and social development of an area, and is managed in a transparent and traceable manner. The company and tire suppliers it is working with on the initiative -- including Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Michelin -- say they can’t fully replace natural rubber with synthetics, but they can ensure that it’s obtained responsibly.