The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. this week outlined a new policy intended to strengthen its role in protecting the environment and human rights in areas of the world where natural rubber is produced.

“We know our actions can make a difference in protecting the rights of people throughout the supply chain, including the smallholders who grow natural rubber on their own land,” said Maureen Thune, Goodyear vice president and chief procurement officer. “Our new policy also helps to protect the environment by promoting environmentally and socially responsible land use.”

The policy sets forth seven principles guiding the company’s commitment to a long-term, sustainable supply chain and expectations that its suppliers and partners across the globe will follow suit:

• Human rights. Goodyear will work to ensure its natural rubber supply chain protects the rights of all involved, fostering a positive working environment at all levels of the supply chain.

• Responsible land acquisition and use. The company will work to promote an environmentally and socially responsible, natural-rubber supply chain, free from deforestation and land grabbing.

• Traceability. Goodyear will develop practices that lead to the ability to trace natural rubber through the entire supply chain.

• Processing. Suppliers who process natural rubber are expected to manufacture their product in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner.

• Growing and harvesting. Suppliers are encouraged to use best-known cultivation practices for existing planted and replanted natural rubber trees.

• Outreach. Goodyear will work to increase yields and improve the livelihoods of existing smallholders, encouraging its direct suppliers and members of their supply chain to support their communities.

• Implementation and compliance. The company commits to the corruption-free and transparent implementation of this policy.

Beyond the new policy, Goodyear also takes part in the Tire Industry Project, an initiative involving the CEOs of the world’s 11 major tire companies that works with rubber producers, automakers and civic leaders to promote natural rubber sustainability.

Akron-based Goodyear employs about 64,000 people and manufactures its products in 48 facilities in 22 countries around the world.