Outlined below are highlights from Firestone Natural Rubber Company’s history in Liberia.
1926: Firestone Tire & Rubber Company reaches an agreement with the Liberian government to launch the natural rubber industry development in the country.
1930s: Firestone Natural Rubber Company employs thousands of Liberians as well as provides the capital for tree planting and for building processing factories, power plants, houses and hundreds of miles of roads.
1942 – 1945: Firestone Natural Rubber Company contributes to the Allied effort during World War II by doubling its rubber exports to support the military’s need for rubber.
1976: Firestone and the Liberian government sign a renegotiated concession agreement forming the basis of the company’s continuing operation in Liberia.
1990-2003: Liberia suffers through civil war. Firestone Liberia limits operations and even closes during certain points of the war.
2003: Firestone Natural Rubber Company resumes full production following the end of the Liberian civil war.
2005: To save the Liberian rubber industry and to rehabilitate its operations to pre-war status, Firestone Natural Rubber Company and the Liberian government sign a renegotiated agreement. The agreement provides for extensive post-civil war capital investment, immediate replanting of rubber trees and extends the company’s lease until 2041 to ensure it has the opportunity to harvest rubber from newly planted trees. The company commits to a long-term major replanting program and the rebuilding of schools, hospitals, housing and other infrastructure damaged or destroyed during the civil war. The company also commits to providing assistance to Liberian rubber farmers.
2006: Firestone Natural Rubber Company pledges $100 million of capital to the post-war rebuilding efforts to quickly help rebuild key infrastructure.
2007: Firestone’s dedicated shipping services, L & C Shipping Lines, provides space for aid relief and other donated goods for the Liberian people.
2008: The Government of Liberia and Firestone Natural Rubber Company sign the Amended and Restated Concession Agreement that provides Firestone the stability to continue investing in the rubber farm as well as to develop and launch its new rubberwood business.
2008: Firestone Natural Rubber Company celebrates the official reopening of the Firestone Medical Center in Duside as an inpatient facility.
2009: Firestone Natural Rubber Company launches its Hevea wood operation to process rubber trees at the end of their lifecycle in an ecologically sustainable way, for use in the manufacture of furniture, flooring and other products.
2009: The company opens a new marketplace in Harbel and announces plans for a new residential community on the site of the old marketplace.
2009: Firestone Liberia High School graduates its first senior class.
2010: The Firestone Medical Center at Duside hosts 20 volunteer doctors and nurses from Children’s Surgery International (CSI) for a five-day surgical mission. The team performs 142 operations free of charge for Liberian children.
2010: The company launches “89.5 FM – The Voice of Firestone Liberia” radio station in Harbel.
2014: Firestone Natural Rubber Company aggressively combats the Ebola health crisis through prevention education and awareness as well as a dedicated Ebola Treatment Unit. The company’s efforts are recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and NPR.
2014: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visits the Firestone Medical Center at Duside to learn about Firestone’s efforts to fight Ebola.