Rubber is an important raw material that is required for car tires, personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves and many other everyday products. Whenever you go anywhere you use rubber. Now, interruptions in the supply chain have caused the rubber industry to tumble.

“We could be on the cusp of a rubber apocalypse,” Ohio State University professor Katrina Cornish told CNBC.

Rubber producers are facing climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, a destructive fungus and the battle over shipping containers.

The world economy remains dependent on Asia for 90% of the natural rubber supply. For example, according to census data, the United States imported natural rubber worth $ 140 million in March 2021 alone.

The global natural rubber market was valued at nearly $ 40 billion in 2020 and the demand for rubber is expected to increase. An analysis predicts the natural rubber market could be worth nearly $ 68.5 billion by 2026. One reason for the increased demand? Car tire.

“We’re using more and more tires,” Stefano Savi, director of the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber, told CNBC. “The number of kilometers we will travel as the world’s population is definitely going to increase, and so the demand for rubber is really growing.”

Watch the video above to learn more about why the natural rubber supply chain is facing challenges, what natural rubber means to economies around the world, and what rubber innovations may look like in the future.