That brings the story to Baringa in 1904. Alice Seeley Harris took a black and white photograph of a native named Nsala. His wife and children had just been killed, and Nsala, in the photo, is looking at his 5-year-old daughter's severed hand and foot.
The photograph was distributed in pamphlets and shown around at meetings, causing an uproar in Europe. Harford called it the basis of the first photographic human rights campaign. Public pressure forced Belgium's King Leopold II to loosen his grip on the colony.
The author brings his piece into the modern day, telling of how in Cameroon, Halcyon Agri is clearing huge areas to make way for rubber trees on its Sudcam plantation. The actions brought concern from a variety of environmental groups worried about deforestation, and claims from villagers who say they weren't compensated for their land.
That led Halcyon Agri to enact a sustainable supply chain policy and make promises to address working conditions and work in a responsible manner, both to the environment and the land owners it deals with.
That is part of the larger effort in the NR trade, which is under increased scrutiny, to develop a supply chain that is more environmentally friendly and also treats the many smallholders, who still produce the vast majority of natural rubber by tapping trees, in a fair and humane manner.
So while the issues facing the global NR world of today aren't nearly as severe they were more than a century ago, there still is more work to be done.