Different types of interactions are emerging involving public and private (non-state) actors across sustainability initiatives in the palm oil sector in Indonesia.
Such initiatives include the development of government standards for sustainable palm oil, legislation related to the setting aside of conservation areas, a ‘wave’ of provincial and district Green Growth programs, a focus on jurisdictional approaches, and efforts around smallholder registration. These have been accompanied by the emergence of a number of political ‘champions’ in the form of provincial and district leaders.
Some initiatives can help to implement immediate specific sustainability objectives by filling implementation gaps, by bearing some operational costs and by speeding up regulatory change.
To bring about the transformation and to move beyond a proliferation of pilot schemes, interactions would need to survive political cycles and align with on-going national processes of reform around natural resource policy.
Those initiatives intended as innovative pilots or to kick start a process in unclear legal contexts may benefit from acting quickly outside of more formal state systems. However, there are clear benefits in integrating initiatives into existing executive systems to help weather and uncertain electoral cycles.
Some actions by non-state actors act to strengthen the capacity of public authority and accountability, whereas others can weaken or undermine these public systems.