Kolkata : Bridgestone India, part of Bridgestone Corporation, a global leader in tyres and sustainable mobility solutions, today announced a commitment to adopt and support one lakh smallholder rubber farmers in Idukki and Kottayam districts in Kerala. In collaboration with the Netherlands-based NGO Solidaridad, Bridgestone India launched “UNNATI – a Sustainable Natural Rubber Initiative,” a visionary project aimed at driving positive change within the rubber industry. The initiative aims to promote a sustainable supply chain of natural rubber while enhancing the livelihoods of 5,000 smallholder rubber farmers. Moreover, it seeks to build capacities for 95,000 smallholder farmers in better rubber cultivation over a span of 4.5 years, commencing from 1st October 2022. The program will involve various elements, including sustainable practices, community development, capacity building and Research and development.
This unprecedented move underscores Bridgestone’s commitment to sustainable sourcing and community development, while also fostering a positive impact on the livelihoods of local rubber farmers.
“We are excited to partner with the smallholder farmers to facilitate mutual learning that would help elevate their practices, enhance the quality of rubber production, thereby improving livelihoods and contributing to the growth of the local economy. This initiative is born from our commitment to the environment and communities we serve, and we look forward to further seeing the improvement it brings.” said Stefano Sanchini, Managing Director Bridgestone India.
The project is aligned with the guidelines of Rubber Board of India’s essential topics such as field establishment, nutrient management, pest and disease control, latex harvest technology, wastewater management, and occupational health and safety.
The implementation of Project Unnati will be spearheaded by Solidaridad Regional Expertise Centre (SREC), a registered not-for-profit trust with a mission to eliminate poverty through sustainable production practices. “We are excited to partner with Bridgestone India on this transformative initiative,” Through our collaborative efforts, we aim to build capacities, improve livelihoods, and create lasting positive impact for rubber farmers in Kerala, said Monica Khanna, Country Manager, India SREC. Solidaridad.”