Intensified land use and palm moratorium conserve forest and peatlands

IDH collaborates with Asian Agri, one of the major palm oil companies in Indonesia to build a 100% sustainable palm oil base. To provide cost effectively 100% sustainable palm oil to its buyers, Asian Agri has an interest in training their 3,000+ independent smallholders in Tanjung Jabung Barat towards RSPO certification.

To achieve the 100% sustainable palm oil base in Jambi, IDH replicated the model we piloted in South Sumatra. The independent smallholders now produce more sustainably and have better access to lucrative, international markets. They sell for example their certificates to RSPO Palmtrace with Unilever as the off-taker.

We commissioned local NGO SETARA to map out the land rights of smallholders and published it online. As a result Tanjung Jabung Barat government started settling open land right issues with smallholder farmers. Smallholders farmers with settled land rights get easier access to funding.

IDH now helps smallholders to access agro-inputs and new planting materials through our Service Delivery Model work. RSPO certification and replanting and fertilizer use will intensify their land use, and in combination with the national government moratorium on palm oil concessions will help to reserve the 2.1 million hectares of ecologically important forest areas, including four national parks and the Harapan Rainforest.

In Jambi, IDH aims to conserve 100,000 hectares (directly and indirectly) of HCV/HCS forest and peatland, restore 10,000 hectares of forest and peatland, and increase sustainable agricultural and forestry production on 40,000 hectares. In addition, we want to improve the livelihoods of 10,000 smallholder farmers and community members.

IDH works at the market end, especially in Europe, to drive the uptake of the sustainably produced commodities in the landscape. Our market convening work also creates a stronger business case for the companies on the ground to produce more sustainably.
To drive the uptake of more sustainable palm oil in Europe, IDH and MVO (the Dutch Oils and Fats Industry) established the European Sustainable Palm Oil, or ESPO, project in 2015. The project was initiated to stimulate the uptake of more sustainable palm oil in Europe, and its objective is to achieve ‘100% sustainable palm oil in Europe by 2020’. ESPO works in close collaboration with various National Palm Oil Initiatives on sustainable palm oil, the RSPO and umbrella EU associations, such as Caobisco (confectionary), Fediol (refineries) and Imace (margarines), and connects to the green sourcing areas.

Outside of Europe, IDH has also set up the Palm Oil (Markets) Program in India that works to mainstream the uptake of sustainable palm oil. India is the largest consuming market of Indonesian palm oil, and consumes 13.5% of the total global production – making it one of the largest markets for the commodity. This gives India agency, as it is well positioned to demand palm oil produced in a responsible manner without deforestation risk. It is also well placed to further strengthen South-South Cooperation while providing regional stewardship for the trade of responsibly sourced commodities including palm oil.

In India, IDH’s Palm Oil Program contributes to the SDG 12 for Responsible Consumption and Production. We do this by:

  • Convening large palm oil buyers operating in India to build reporting and disclosure
  • Remaining inclusive and standard-neutral
  • Working towards influencing demand in the short term and encouraging responsibly sourced supply in the long term
  • Monitoring the uptake of responsibly sourced/sustainable palm oil
  • Building engagement with the Government of India

Read more about the program here.


Title Type Year Regions TAF
Learning from Landscapes Report 2022 Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American Landscapes Program
Landscapes Information Brief: IDH’s approach to sustainable landscapes Brochure 2018 - -
IDH Landscape program Brochure 2018 - -
Indonesia Landscape Factsheet Brochure 2018 - -
IDH Landscapes Forum Report Report 2017 - -
The Little Sustainable Landscapes Book Report 2015 - -

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