Synthetic rubber, often referred to as ""cold foam"" in connection with mattresses, is made from the fossil, finite raw material crude oil. The manufacturing process is energy-intensive and products made from petroleum are poorly degradable. At some point they end up in a landfill. Natural latex, on the other hand, is made from rubber milk. It begins to flow as soon as a tapper removes a wafer-thin strip of bark from the trunk of the rubber tree with a sharp tapping knife. But rubber trees are not only suppliers of a valuable raw material, they also make an active contribution to environmental protection, because they absorb more CO2 than most other plants.
In addition, natural latex mattresses have been named the test winner in many independent tests because of their very good lying properties. Rubber is therefore a high-quality, versatile material that is superior to synthetic rubber in many ways. Especially when it comes to protecting the environment.
The idea of fair trade is also one of the basic values of our company. It is therefore important to us to give the primary producers of natural rubber - in particular rubber tappers, plantation workers and small farmers - the opportunity to participate in fair trade.
Why is the rubber we use fair traded but not certified by the Fair Trade Labelling Organization (FLO)? This is because FLO has no criteria for rubber. For this reason, Prolana is a founding member of Fair Rubber e.V. We are the largest processor of fair trade natural latex worldwide. The aim of the association is to improve the living and working conditions of the primary producers of natural latex.
For every kilogram of the raw material Dry Rubber Content (portion of the rubber in the ""latex milk"") the members of the association pay a fair trade premium of € 0.50. A percentage fair trade premium, on the other hand, would not make sense, since the prices for rubber are dependent on the world market. When prices are low, producers cannot even cover their production costs. At Fair Rubber e.V., at least the fair trade premium remains the same. In addition, in contrast to other fair trade programs, the producers do not pay any fees to be listed on a certified plantation register. On the contrary: if necessary, the association will even cover the costs of any certification.
This premium paid by the Fair Rubber members is not a donation, but an additional income for tappers, plantation workers and small farmers. They decide for themselves which projects they want to finance from it. Over the past 30 years, the fair trade premium as made it possible to implement projects, some of which were very extensive, which have improved the living and working conditions of the workers on the plantations.
Sustainable trade relationships are an important part of our corporate philosophy. And the personal encounters with the local people are always a great enrichment. We appreciate the numerous personal conversations and the shared vision and look forward to gaining insights into the worlds of our partners and to learning more about their lives and cultures.