Saturday, 25 March, 2023

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African forests threatened by European demand for Rubber

Africa’s forest reserves are under severe threat from the massive demand for rubber from Europe.

Giulia Bondi, Global Witness’ senior forests campaigner, says European-funded industrial rubber plantations play a big role in mass deforestation in West and Central Africa.

The European Union (EU) has been very active in checking deforestation globally.

But according to Bondi, the EU still has no direct policy on rubber.

Europe is definitely complicit in all of this. It is not just the companies and the European tyre manufacturers but also the European banks who are supporting the production of rubber,” Giulia Bondi, Global Witness’ senior forests campaigner. Successful tire industry lobbying has pushed the Commission to get rubber out of the list.”

Giulia Bondi, Global Witness’ senior forests campaigner

The European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers’ Association in its 2021 report indicated that there has been a slight demand for tyres following Post-COVID 19 recovery across the continent.

The implication is that this spike in demand will significantly slow down global efforts to tackle deforestation – one of the key issues discussed at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.