Corrie MacColl is a long-established trading company that its natural rubber business can be traced back to the 1940s. John Heath, Deputy Global Head, Sustainability and Product Development, Corrie Maccoll, who is a speaker in the “Driving New and Emerging FSC Markets” session of the FSC Asia Pacific Business Forum 2018, shares how he sees the potential in FSC-certified latex and the role FSC plays in natural rubber supply chains.
How is FSC related to your work?
FSC represents a small, but significant part of our sustainability programme and is certainly a part that we would like to grow. Many of our customers face pressures from their downstream buyers to demonstrate that their raw material supply chains are free of risk regarding the principle sustainability criteria. Natural rubber is frequently in the NGO and media spotlight over issues like deforestation in certain areas, mistreatment of migrant labour, child labour… our customers increasingly demand more than just our own declaration that the rubber and latex we supply to their factory is “clean”. Also, due to the fragmentation and complexity of the raw material supply chain, it is frequently very difficult for us, or our processor suppliers, to know with certainty where the rubber we purchase ultimately comes from – a single container of latex as supplied to a customer in Europe might contain the raw material input of more than 30,000 farmers.
So FSC can help offer our customers the independently verified assurance and traceability which they and their downstream consumers increasingly expect.
What do you see FSC’s position in the emerging market that you’re in?
There are so many “eco-labels” out there – over 450 on the EcoLabel Index currently – and it can be very confusing for consumers when confronted by so many different seals on products. FSC was one of the earliest certification schemes and is in our view the most established and trusted name in the consumer marketplace when it comes to a credible endorsement of products from sustainable forestry. In our sector, the challenge is now to expand the availability of certified rubber and latex non-timber forest products (NTFP) far beyond the current 2% or so of total global supply. There is significant latent demand in the consumer marketplace in our sector for the assurance provided by the FSC label, but we cannot realise this potential without considerable growth of certified supply from South East Asia.
Can you give us a sneak peek on your presentation in the business forum?
Besides sharing our history on using FSC in terms of how we started and where we are today, I’m going to demonstrate how significant further growth is contingent on an expansion of supply, especially in South East Asia because of the largely-latent latex/rubber demand for FSC. I’d also like to share some recent consumer case studies in Europe, and also challenges I see regarding the increasing FSC certified latex/ rubber supply.
Meet John and other speakers in our FSC APAC Business Forum on 25-26 Sept 2018.
Registration for international applicants will be closed on 10 Sept(Mon) and local applicants on 17 Sept(Mon). Don’t miss out on this opportunity if you are FSC Certificate Holders or Commercial Trademark Service Licensees!