Michelin in Joint Venture to Cultivate Eco-Friendly Natural Rubber
French tire manufacturing giant, Michelin, has announced a partnership with an Indonesian company, Barito Pacific Group, to launch a major project for growing and collecting natural rubber in the South East Asian nation.
Both the cultivation and processing of the rubber will use “natural and eco-friendly” farming techniques that will also involve a reforestation oversight program by the Worldwide Fund (WWF) for Nature to ensure long-term sustainability for the project, and more importantly, to conserve the environment.
Barito Pacific Group, a firm that has a lot of experience and expertise in forestry, the use of petrochemicals, as well as management of properties and plantations, is based in the capital of Jakarta. The Indonesian company is the majority shareholder in the yet-to-be-named joint venture, having a 53% stake in the company. Michelin’s capital contribution in the venture is going to be $55 million.
This joint venture is not the first time that Michelin and Barito Pacific are coming together for a common cause. The two companies already have another partnership, dubbed P.T. Petrokimia Butadiene Indonesia, that is involved in the manufacture of synthetic rubber.
The natural rubber project’s mission will include the reforestation of three land concessions, totaling more than 217,000 acres, that the two companies said have been ravaged by unchecked deforestation over the years. The venture is expected to have an annual yield of up to 80,000 tons of rubber.
Rubber trees will be planted on only half of the total land under control of the two companies, while the remaining half is going to be used to recreate a natural environment by planting community crops. More than 16,000 jobs are expected to be created by the project, both direct and indirect, according to Michelin.
In the spirit of promoting sustainability and environmental conservation in the process of producing the natural rubber, Michelin has announced a 4-year partnership with WWF, an NGO that is involved in advocating for long-term conservation of the environment for sustainable development. The new co-operation will be concerned with research and promotion of best practices in the cultivation of natural rubber.
Another local coordination between Michelin, Barito Pacific and the WWF will strive to conserve the ecosystem in the Tigapuluh National Park as well as the Limau Protected Forest, both of which are currently threatened by severe deforestation.
Image source: flickr.com
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