Rubber is an important raw material needed for car tires, personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, and many other everyday products. You are using rubber whenever you are going somewhere. Now, supply chain disruptions have put the rubber industry in a tailspin.
“We may be on the verge of a rubber apocalypse,” Ohio State University professor Katrina Cornish told CNBC.
Rubber producers are battling climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, a devastating fungus and shipping containers.
The global economy is dependent on Asia for 90% of the natural rubber supply. For example, the US imported $140 million worth of natural rubber in March 2021 alone, according to census data.
The global natural rubber market was valued at approximately $40 billion in 2020, and the demand for rubber is expected to increase. One analysis predicts that the natural rubber market could be worth about $68.5 billion by 2026. One reason for the increasing demand? car wheel.
“We are using tires more and more,” Stefano Savi, director of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, told CNBC. “The mileage we’re going to deliver as a global population is definitely set to increase, and that’s why the demand for rubber is really increasing.”
Watch the video above to learn more about why the natural rubber supply chain faces challenges, what natural rubber means for economies around the world, and what rubber innovation might look like in the future.