GRI opened its latest rubber collection center in Buttala in the Monaragala District of Sri Lanka on April 23.
“We are not only purchasing rubber, but we are also fostering a greater aim, which is the Green X Circle,” Dr. Mahesha Ranasoma, CEO of GRI, explained at the opening. “Through this initiative, we connect the rubber farmer to the crop farmer, who is the end-user of the GRI Agricultural tires both in Sri Lanka and globally. We manufacture the tires using the rubber produced by the rubber farmer, and the crop farmer uses the tires to produce his harvest, which in turn is consumed by us as food. The Green X Circle is a sustainable ecosystem that brings all stakeholders together.”
The Green Circle initiative includes GRI, rubber and crop farmers as well as tire dealers, who are the intermediaries. GRI works together with the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka (RRI) to provide training programs and build the capacity of natural rubber farmers. Programs include the teaching of sustainable practices, efficient rubber tapping techniques, as well as the correct farming methods to ensure that the natural rubber farmers have increased high-quality yields.
The rubber farmers were taken on a live virtual tour of the GRI manufacturing facilities, where it was similar to them walking through the factory. GRI says it showed and explained the different processes of how the rubber supplied by the farmer eventually becomes a tire.
GRI also launched the first phase of its natural rubber procurement app during the event. The company says the app will analyze supplier trends and see GRI moving away from a paper-based manual data collection process to a digital process.