IT ALL STARTED WITH COUNTLESS UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
NOW WE HAVE THE ANSWERS
WHERE IS THE RUBBER FOR OUR PRODUCTS COMING FROM EXACTLY, LIKE FROM THE VERY BEGINNING?
From pioneer farmers growing trees like a forest with other plants in Southern Thailand.
HOW ARE THE WORKING CONDITIONS FOR THE PEOPLE WITHIN OUR SUPPLY CHAIN?
Precarious? No! Through purchase guarantees and a fair pricing system, a collective of farmers are working independently, setting their own criteria for growing sustainable rubber trees. Since the climate is cooler in forest gardens, the working conditions are more favorable. The working conditions in the processing and manufacturing plants within the supply chain are very good, too.
AND MIGHT WE BE HARMING THE ENVIRONMENT BY USING RUBBER IN OUR CONDOMS?
Obtaining raw materials always involves shaping the natural environment in some way. But doing so doesn’t have to leave scars on our planet. By choosing to work with farmers who strive to build diverse forests and contribute to reforestation instead of deforestation, einhorn, rrt, releaf and XO can be a part of a supply chain that is giving something back. And we’ll keep working to make things better. We hope that our work and the initiatives of everyone working with us can be examples of responsible entrepreneurship within global business.
THE FULL STORY OF HOW THE PIONEERING FARMERS AND CONDOM BRANDS GOT CONNECTED
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
When the fairstainable condom company einhorn was founded in 2015 it was clear from the very beginning that fairstainability is a core value, which includes integrating sustainable commodities in their products. They wanted to know more about where the material in their products came from and how they were processed. To find out, the company sent Linda, one of their employees, to Malaysia where their condoms are manufactured with RRT.
The first thing she discovered: the latex used in their condoms is obtained from plantations of monocultures - the well established growing system. But then she met the natural scientist Dr. Sara Bumrungsri from Prince of Songkla University (PSU) in Southern Thailand. As a passionate advocate of rubber tree forests, he had contact with a group of ambitious farmers in Southern Thailand – not too far from the condom manufacturers in Malaysia
This group of farmers call themselves KonRakPa meaning someone who loves or preserves the forest. In fact: they were growing their rubber trees amongst an array of other vegetation. They had created sustainable, eco-friendly rubber tree forests! According to Dr. Sara, agroforestry is the perfect alternative to monoculture cultivation. According to his research, it’s a practical solution for many ecological issues, like soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and global warming - without reducing latex yields.
That was it! These agroforestry farmers would be the first link in the rubber supply chain! But the next vital link was still missing.
MAKING THE LATEX FROM AGROFORESTRY FARMERS “SINGLE ORIGIN”- 100% TRACEABLE
Natural latex has to be quickly sent to a processing plant to be preserved for further manufacturing. Fresh latex is like raw milk - if it's not processed quickly, it can turn sour.
The time einhorn met the agroforestry rubber farmers they were selling their rubber to different middle men. The sustainable latex was thus mixed with other latex grown in monocultures.There was not such as a market for sustainable rubber. Thus,a separate processing plant for agroforest farmers was needed, creating a transparent, traceable chain for sustainable rubber. No more mixing with non-agroforestry latex.
CLOSING THE LOOP…
Perfect match: einhorn found an experienced latex processor, Mrs. Sudthida who totally understood the needs of the farmers and the other business partners - her factory Phatthalung Paratex became the ideal mediator between the agroforestry farmers and the condom manufacturer in Malaysia.
Each step of the way can now be traced all the way back to the beginning, ensuring consumers that our products really contain natural latex harvested from regenerative agroforestry. And as true impact only works if it gets big - other great condom brands have joined the journey now.