The BMW Group and Pirelli are joining with Birdlife International in a three year project that aims to favor the long-term production of sustainable and deforestation-free natural rubber in Indonesia.

Birdlife International – an NGO that conserves global biodiversity, habitats and birds – will be supported by its two new partners in actions to benefit local communities, the conservation of the natural ecosystem and protection of endangered animal species in the forests of Indonesia.

In Indonesia, the project is implemented by a number of non-governmental organisations coordinated by the local consortium PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (PT Reki). In Indonesia, the cultivation of natural rubber is one of the traditional sources of income for the local population.

The project is located in a part of the Hutan Harapan rainforest (island of Sumatra), which is home to around 1,350 different animal species. It will take the form of a series of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of the indigenous community by protecting farmers’ land rights and promoting women’s rights, conserving a deforestation-free area of 2,700 hectares and protecting several endangered species.

The different activities will be implemented in line with the goals of the Global Platform of Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR), the multi-stakeholder platform for the sustainable development of the natural rubber business, of which the BMW Group, Pirelli and Birdlife International are founder members.

The partnership between the BMW Group and Pirelli in support of Indonesia’s Hutan Harapan forest is part of a joint pathway to sustainable natural rubber. In this context, Pirelli developed and produced the first tyre in the world, a Pirelli P ZERO, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), fitted on the new BMW X5 Plug-in-Hybrid, in turn, the first car in the world equipped with tyres with this certification. 


The project presented by Pirelli, the BMW Group and Birdlife International foresees the involvement of a number of stakeholders: local communities, government agencies and the entire natural rubber value chain.

The three year program entails multiple activities, including:

  • Agroforestry approach in the context of natural rubber, as promoted by the GPSNR, to optimize the relationship between production, income diversification by varying crops in the same area, conserve biodiversity, soil fertility, capitalization of resources from a circular point of view and carbon sequestration.
  • Good Agricultural Practices (GAP): training courses for smallholders on good cultivation and plantation management practices, in support of the environment, productivity and improvement of smallholders’ living and working conditions.
  • Local community engagement: involving farmers’ families active in the area to identify, ensure respect for and protection of their habitual rights.
  • Forest protection:  a monitoring and direct checks of the forest area through wardens, drones and satellite control technologies.
  • Female empowerment: workshops for women to develop skills with a view to ultimately occupying potential new roles, with particular attention to activities connected to the sustainable management of natural rubber and the protection of biodiversity and forests.
  • Care and protection of animals: census taking and monitoring of animal species most at risk such as the Sumatran tiger, Helmeted Hornbill, Greater Green Leafbird and Agile gibbon, with the involvement of local communities in active forest and biodiversity protection roles.
  • Traceability and use of sustainable natural rubber: creation of a natural rubber Growers’ Cooperative to permit the direct supply of natural rubber from the communities to the processing plants in the region; introduction of documentation for the traceability of the rubber from plantation to processor.

Birdlife International will coordinate with Pirelli and the BMW Group on the project’s progress and results achieved through a plan of periodic reporting.

“As a premium manufacturer, our goal is to lead the way on sustainability and actively take responsibility within our supply chains. In the fight against climate change, we are rolling out targeted measures to support bio-diversity and tropical rainforest conservation,” said Dr Andreas Wendt, BMW AG Board Member for Purchasing and Supplier Network. 

“Our project in Indonesia will help people and the local economy to work in greater harmony with nature. At the same time, it will also support local communities by professionalising their traditional cultivation methods for natural rubber.”

Giovanni Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli’s Senior Vice President for Sustainability and Future Mobility, said: “The development of this project is based on the principles of transparency and tangibility which have always guided Pirelli’s actions. Together with BMW Group, in support of the goals of Birdlife we intend to be an active part of a project that aims to have a sustainable impact all round on natural rubber, in the belief that community, biodiversity and business must grow by supporting each other, creating a shared socio-environmental value.”

Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International, commented: “BirdLife works beyond species and sites to address systemic drivers of the biodiversity and climate crisis, and promote a nature positive and carbon neutral world. This is why we joined the GPSNR and welcome this collaboration with Pirelli and BMW to embed practices to safeguard nature within the rubber value chain”.

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