Pirelli has launched a digital platform to build awareness about natural rubber. The goals of setting up such a platform included building awareness about this precious primary material, contributing to the preservation of forests and biodiversity, and supporting the development of the community and local economy. Called “Being Fast Takes Time” the digital platform that can be accessed at https://naturalrubber.pirelli.com/en-ww/ chronicles the journey that begins with the rubber tree and ends with the production of a tire. It describes the daily life of a rubber farmer, the different cultivation techniques, fundamental phases of natural rubber’s production and supply cycle. The microsite has a feature length report by the photographer and writer Alessandro Scotti on his sojourn in Indonesia and Thailand, which are two of the leading producers of latex extracted from rubber trees.
In 2017, Pirelli had launched its Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy, thus declaring its intention to source natural in a sustainable and responsible manner along the whole value chain.
“Being Fast Takes Time” documents the meticulous and slow process needed for extraction of latex with three hours being needed to fill half a coconut shell. There is a long wait needed for its solidification and farmers need to have plenty of respect for nature’s times and rhythms, with the tire being the final outcome. The life of the rubber farmers is in sharp contrast to the fast and furious world of motorsports where these tires are employed.
The platform comprises seven sections: the project, the journey, natural rubber, the community, nature and fauna, Pirelli’s commitment, from white to black. The story is depicted through a series of 30 black and white images, videos and other elements, including a logbook that Alessandro Scotti kept of his journey through Indonesia, the island of Java, Sumatra and the plantations in the province of Chonburi in Thailand. The reports document the role of women tappers, the life of the farmers, whose livelihood depends on natural rubber, the complex “tapping” technique. The plantations coexist with nature and jungles housing elephants, orangutans and crocodiles and the entire harmonious and balanced ecosystem needs to be protected.
The “It Takes Time to Go Fast” platform helps browsers to understand the fragility of this balance and the importance of sustainable management of the natural rubber supply chain. As Pirelli says, it is indeed a long process, ‘from white to black’, from the white of latex to the black of the tire.
Pirelli does not have its own rubber plantations, and launched its Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy in 2017, thereafter enhancing it with an implementation manual. The policy was developed through consultations with international NGOs, Pirelli’s main natural rubber suppliers and all stakeholders. The aim of the policy is to promote and develop a sustainable and responsible natural rubber supply chain involving farmers, traders, processors, sellers and producers. The policy strives to protect the rights of workers and indigenous populations, and includes “no deforestation” to preserve environmental capital, biodiversity, and to permit the responsible and long-term development of the local communities and economies. Pirelli also has a strict requirement for suppliers to avoid using fires to clear spaces to prepare new plantations, not to grow in peat bogs and to adhere strictly to the internationally recognized High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock(HCS) guidelines for the conservation of the ecosystem. The core values of Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy are health, safety and the well-being of all the people involved in the entire natural rubber supply chain. It aims to avoid any type of discrimination and support the development of local communities and economies.
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