Table of Contents
Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by U.S. Government
Child Labor cited by U.S. Government
Risk of Forced Labor or Trafficking in Persons cited by other source
Risk of Child Labor cited by other source
Documented presence of migrant workers
Documented presence of other vulnerable workers
Documented presence or significant likelihood of third-party labor recruiters
Large numbers of dispersed, unorganized or informal small producers or other worksites
Multiple points of aggregation, co-mingling, and/or transformation across supply chain
Complex/opaque supply chains and/or lack of vertical integration
High degree of flexibility in procurement practices of downstream entities
Scale or nature of risk is present across multiple tiers or nodes of supply chain (including in associated downstream or upstream goods)
Scale or nature of risk varies significantly based on geographic area of production
Scale or nature of risk is strongly associated with certain types of suppliers/entities
The cultivation of rubber has three main stages: planting and maintenance, tapping and harvesting, and processing and manufacturing. The first stage of production is very labor intensive and requires constant maintenance to produce the highest quality rubber. Once mature (usually after the eighth year of growth), the rubber tree can be tapped year-round and requires constant pruning and weeding.17Verité. Rubber Production in Liberia: An Explanatory Assessment of Living and Working Conditions, with Special Attention to Forced Labor. www.verite.org/sites/default/files/images/Research%20on%20Working%20Conditions%20in%20the%20Liberia%20Rubber%20Sector__9.16.pdf. Once harvested, the latex is processed into sheets and dried in facilities on the farm or plantation prior to being sold. Smallholder farms frequently sell their rubber to larger plantations, which subsequently sell directly to the open market, or to regional wholesalers or traders. Such traders or wholesalers often finance the transport and distribution of the rubber between the plantation and manufacturer. In this node of the supply chain, rubber can be bought and sold several times, creating opacity in the supply chain.18Verité. Rubber Production in Liberia: An Explanatory Assessment of Living and Working Conditions, with Special Attention to Forced Labor. www.verite.org/sites/default/files/images/Research%20on%20Working%20Conditions%20in%20the%20Liberia%20Rubber%20Sector__9.16.pdf. Once at the manufacturer, rubber is generally mixed with compounding ingredients and other natural rubber before being sent to final retailers and consumers. Forced labor and child labor occur most frequently at the early stages of production, particularly among the planting and tapping nodes of the supply chain, however, forced and child labor can be present in downstream processing nodes as well.19Verité. Responsible Sourcing Tool – Rubber, 2023 www.responsiblesourcingtool.org/commodities/77.pdf.
Planting and Maintenance
Tapping and Harvesting
Processing and Manufacturing
Marketing and Final Retail
Roughly 70 percent of produced natural rubber is used for airplane and large transport vehicle tires.
Rubber is one of the world’s most versatile resources; more than 40,000 products worldwide use natural rubber as a material, including rubber gloves.