NCCF: PEFC Webinar for The Rubber Board

Promoting Certification of Forests and Rubber Plantations for Long Term Sustainability of the Resource and Rubber Industry in India
Friday, 4th June 2021

The Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) jointly with the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) organized a webinar for The Rubber Board, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India on 4th June 2021. The webinar was attended by 117 participants including Managing Directors and senior officers of  SFDCs/Plantation Corporations,  officers of The Rubber Board, natural rubber estate owners, representatives of the rubber industry, certification bodies, experts, and other stakeholders of natural rubber. This brought diverse stakeholders of the Rubber Industry on a common platform.

Mr. A.K Srivastava, Director General, NCCF, while welcoming the panelists and participants, mentioned that the Indian Rubber Industry is growing at a fast pace both in terms of strength and dominance, and it is imperative that natural rubber should come from sustainable sources with demonstrable and objective evidence, like NCCF: PEFC certification of natural rubber plantations.

Mr. Vijai Sharma, Chairman NCCF in his brief remarks, expressed satisfaction that experts were discussing the sustainability measures for the natural rubber resources and rubber industry, through certification, an important management tool to promote environmental, social, and economic sustainability of the natural rubber. The webinar symbolized The Rubber Board’s commitment towards sustainable growth of the Indian natural rubber industry, supporting climate-resilient measures and environmentally conscious consumers across the globe.

Dr. K N Raghavan, Chairman Rubber Board in his presentation “Outlook of Indian Natural Rubber Plantation Industry” emphasized The Rubber Board’s goal to be self-reliant in natural rubber production by focusing on the sustainability of Indian rubber plantations through various strategies including promotion of Good Agricultural Practices for increasing Productivity in existing plantations, human resource development, integrated farming for sustainable livelihoods and enhancing the sustainability of Indian Natural Rubber plantations. He underlined the importance of the Trees Outside Forests certification scheme developed by NCCF in enhancing not only production level but also ensuring better markets and premium price for certified products.

Mr. Ben Gunneberg, CEO and Secretary General, PEFC, through his video message, expressed the necessity of certification of rubber plantations for the long-term sustainability of the resource and welfare of the people. He believed that the future of the rubber industry in India, as well as worldwide, is bright considering its vast usage.  Thus, the linkages between the rubber industry and forest certification can be beneficial for everyone.

Mr. Richard Laity, Project and Development Consultant, PEFC South East Asia made a comprehensive presentation on the topic “Towards a Sustainable & Resilient Future of Natural Rubber”, explaining details of the PEFC certification system as well as its chain of custody certification and their contribution in sustainable forest management and mitigating environmental and social risks. He discussed the advantages of PEFC group certification and Trees outside forest scheme in sustainable rubber plantation management and how PEFC had been supporting smallholders of rubber plantations in various countries.

Mr. A K Bansal, Chairperson PCA-WG, NCCF gave a detailed presentation on “Opportunities & Challenges in certification of Natural Rubber in India, using NCCF: PEFC Forest/ToF Certification Standards”. He focused on the importance of the rubber sector in India and the opportunities and challenges in achieving a sustainable rubber value chain through certification. He underlined the potential and need for forest certification of big rubber estates and Group Certification for smallholder rubber plantations, and suggested initiating a pilot for smallholder rubber plantations of Rubber Producer Societies or Self Help Groups for implementing Group certification for smallholders with NCCF as a knowledge partner.

Presentations were followed by a lively interaction session and which enhanced the understanding of the participants about the modalities and benefits of certification.

Dr. K N Raghavan, Chairman & Executive Director, in his closing remarks, expressed the hope that the concept of sustainability would gain momentum in coming years and the rubber industry in India is in sync with the sustainability norms to meet the global market demand. He thanked NCCF and PEFC for organizing the webinar and the participants for their active presence in the meeting.

Some important takeaways from the event are as under:

Short Term:

  1. Forest and Group Certification of rubber plantations have immense potential to ensure the sustainability of the Natural Rubber Supply Chain, and also demonstrating traceability of products to sustainably managed plantations which are gradually being demanded by environmentally conscious consumers.
  2. The Certification will also improve productivity through systematic improvement in practices and performance, in addition to ensuring sustainability.
  3. Identification of suitable groups Rubber Producers Societies (RPS), Self Help Groups (SHGs), RPS companies, and Cooperatives, as they can take a lead in organizing and facilitating ToF certification in the Rubber Plantation sector.
  4. Initiation of a pilot for smallholder Rubber plantations of RPS/SHG facilitated by the Rubber Board for creating awareness about the processes and benefits of Group certification for smallholders with NCCF as a knowledge partner.

Long Term:

  1. Rubber Board and Associations in the private sector can influence  intergovernmental organizations to pro-actively take up issues of :
    • Impact of climate change and mitigation measures
    • Ways of balancing the demand and supply and projections for future
    • Promote the ways in which NR could be used in a diverse set of industries
    • Challenges faced by the small growers and possible roadmap for sustainable rubber production.
  2. Exploring carbon credits from rubber plantations under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), one of the three forms of carbon trading mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol
  3. Implementing Sustainable Forest Management and ensuring responsible sourcing of certified natural rubber & rubberwood.
  4. Developing an inclusive procurement policy and communicating to key stakeholders the rubber supply chain.

Document Library

1. Presentation by Dr. K N Raghavan
2. Presentation by Mr. Ben Gunneberg and Mr. Richard Laity
3. Presentation by Mr. A.K Bansal