- Zero-deforestation commitments are emerging rapidly in Indonesia. They already encompass a large portion of crude palm oil production and almost all the pulp and paper (P&P) sector; typically, they reflect the values of the no-deforestation, no-exploitation (social) and no-peat policies.
- These commitments depend on definitions of forests for their identification and conservation, which in turn rely on methodologies such as High Conservation Value and High Carbon Stock.
- Early implementation has revealed that the palm oil sector is facing a number of governance challenges to achieve commitments: the legal framework is not systematically supportive of the pledges, and the government promotes a different vision of sustainability. Of note is the fact that the P&P sector is more advanced.
- Integration of smallholders into sustainable value chains poses another challenge for the palm oil sector: traceability, better environmental performance and improved yields require urgent action. Legalization of smallholder operations is critical and goes beyond commitments, because it determines access to financing and certification, among others.
- To be effective, zero-deforestation commitments must align public and private governance arrangements. This requires an agreement on visions of sustainability supported by public policies; progress on land tenure; enforcement of progressive regulations at national and regional levels; and the implementation of strong policies to rationalize the expansion of small and medium holdings of oil palm.
- Legacy issues must also be addressed for the main palm oil and P&P groups: land restitution through due processes, support to smallholders and investments in land restoration are some promising avenues worth pursuing.
Topic: deforestation, palm oils, oil palms, production, sustainability
Series: CIFOR Infobrief no. 132
Publisher: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia
Publication Year: 2015Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.