Jungle rubber: achieving the triple p business opportunity, people, planet and profit
Paul Burgers, CO2 operate
The global loss of biodiversity has become one of the major environmental challenges of the 21st century. For one, biodiversity is a fundamental component of long-term business survival. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 40% of the world's economy is based directly and indirectly on the use of biological resources. Safeguarding biodiversity therefore is integral to sustainable development, competitiveness, economic growth and employment, hence important for business. This is especially true, when natural resources are used, such as natural rubber. As one of the largest rubber producers in the world, almost 2 / 3 of the rubber in Indonesia is produced on small farms (<5 ha). In Sumatra and Kalimantan, a total of almost 3 million hectares of rubber is cultivated by small-scale rubber producers in mixed cropping systems, also called jungle rubber. Up to 70% of the biodiversity usually found in natural forests, is present in these jungle rubber systems. In addition, jungle rubber is CO2 friendly. The amount of commercial energy required for harvesting, processing and transporting natural rubber is only a fraction compared to synthetic rubber (about 10%). Findings from our feasibility study, funded through the SBIR facility for biodiversity (AgentschapNL), showed that jungle rubber can provide new markets as a social and ecologically sound, profitable natural product, waiting to enter a growing market of consumers looking for socially-just and environmentally-friendly products.