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Kwik Fit has announced that it is extending its PROJECT TREE sustainability initiative following a successful pilot.

Over the last four months, drivers have been able to purchase Pirelli tyres at Kwik Fit centres with a portion of the purchase price going to support natural sustainable rubber production in Sumatra, Indonesia. 

With the new expansion, customers will be able to purchase Hankook and Continental tyres and contribute to the scheme.

The PROJECT TREE initiative helps to meet the demand for rubber through sustainable and ethical farming methods.

The supply of natural rubber used in tyres relies on thousands of farmers who tap the rubber trees on their smallholdings and sell the raw latex to collectors, dealers, and processors. The project is designed to bring transparency to this natural rubber supply chain, encouraging sustainable practices while at the same time protecting the livelihoods of the smallholders dependent on rubber for their family’s income.

“We’re delighted to be supporting PROJECT TREE, which could provide a template for ensuring the sustainability of rubber production in the long term,” says Mark Slade, managing director of Kwik Fit.

“Perhaps surprisingly, given the current pressures on everyone’s day to day living costs, the initial experience with the project has shown that car owners have chosen to support more sustainable production through their buying decisions and have been willing to pay a modest premium for these tyres.”

Over the length of the pilot period, Kwik Fit saw sales of Pirelli PROJECT TREE tyres exceed expectations – despite a small cost premium. With Hankook and Continental tyres now available, Kwik Fit expects to sell more than 150,000 in the 2022.

PROJECT TREE has developed a proprietary traceability system that uses blockchain technology to track and inspect the supply chain. This software is designed to help prevent rubber from entering the system from inside the conservation area.

One of the most pressing problems in rubber production has been the illegal clearing of land in order to plant more rubber trees to increase production. 

The PROJECT TREE team is working with communities by offering incentives and training to help improve yields on existing land. This will enable farmers to increase production more quickly than planting new trees and will also help halt the loss of biodiversity. As many smallholders do not have bank accounts, the project will operate pool accounts providing farmers with access to education, tools and fertilisers where required.

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