In a significant move aimed at fostering responsible product sourcing and environmental conservation, a team from Thailand’s Rubber Authority embarked on a diplomatic visit to Brussels, Belgium. The primary agenda of the meeting, held on September 25, was to engage in productive dialogue with prominent Thai diplomats — Sekha Wanamethee, the Thai ambassador to Belgium and head of the Thai Mission to the European Union, and Pornthep Srithanathorn, the Thai Agricultural (EU) Office director. At the heart of their conversation was the imminent implementation of the EU deforestation-free products regulation (EUDR) for rubber goods, a topic clarified by Nakorn Takkavirapat, the authority’s governor.
This momentous regulation demands the careful authentication of the origins of natural rubber products, a practice that aligns with the guidelines of the EUDR. Despite the global implications of this rule, Thailand stands as the leading nation in undertaking proactive measures to ensure compliance. In contrast, competitor countries lag behind, a discrepancy that presents Thailand with an exciting opportunity to extend its rubber market beyond European borders.
The EUDR regulation, covering seven categories of products including natural rubber, stipulates that these items must not contribute to deforestation. This requirement entails the rigorous confirmation that rubber plantations possess the proper legal documentation, do not infringe on designated watershed or conservation areas, and are not planted within forests. Additional considerations extend to the management of these plantations, which must employ environmentally conscientious practices that do not harm surrounding communities. In response to these stringent conditions, the Thai Rubber Authority emphasized its commitment to offering rubber products created with careful consideration of environmental and social factors. This vision has encouraged the speedy overhaul of Thailand’s rubber plantations, bringing them in line with sustainable forest management standards specified under MOAC 14061 that oversee all stages such as planting, care, harvesting, and production.
The ultimate goal of these endeavours, as expressed by Governor Nakorn, is to promote ecological balance within rubber plantations, safeguard the environment, and enrich local communities socially and economically. It is pertinent to note that this initiative aligns with the anticipated global trend towards relying on policies akin to the EUDR, which prioritize environmental and social matters.
In response to these forthcoming global changes and to ensure its continuous advancement, the Rubber Authority of Thailand will concentrate on three critical areas for action:
- Developing a comprehensive and up-to-date database of registered rubber farmers and operators to ensure their access to various government schemes.
- Facilitating the legal and efficient management of rubber plantations, including those without established land rights documentation.
- Implementing progressive measures to boost Thailand’s competitiveness on the global stage.
These steps form an integral part of the authority’s wider vision to bolster the sustainability and global competitiveness of Thailand’s rubber industry, with the ultimate aim of creating a harmonious blend of commercial success, environmental preservation, and social well-being.