Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Research Report

Deforestation-free commitments: The challenge of implementation – An application to Indonesia

Romain Pirard
Akiva Fishman
Sophia Gnych
Krystof Obidzinski
Pablo Pacheco
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2015
Pages: 35
  • Cite this Item

Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-2)

    Global economic integration and deregulation have diminished state control or containment of corporations. This has contributed to the push by many civil society groups for alternative “self” and “multi-stakeholder” regulatory approaches to managing corporate conduct. As branding, reputation, financing and alliances have become increasingly tied to corporate values, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and advocacy groups have begun to use consumer awareness campaigns and activism to tackle environmental and human rights issues. These strategies are meant to push companies to acknowledge their responsibility for social and environmental impacts, and not only economic performance. While this movement started in developed countries, similar initiatives...

  2. (pp. 3-6)

    In both the oil palm and pulp and paper sectors, NGOs, corporations and international development agencies have committed time and resources to develop mechanisms such as market-based certification standards for “good” social and environmental practices. Over the past decade, these private and multi-stakeholder voluntary standards have multiplied. The first standard to address the environmental externalities of oil palm agriculture was the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), established in 2003. This multi-stakeholder body is seen as a “business to business” approach to address the environmental and social impacts of oil palm, informed by inputs from civil society and public interest...

  3. (pp. 7-15)

    This section lists and analyzes a large set of issues that we consider critical for a promising implementation of zero-deforestation pledges.

    If one applies the principle that the devil is in the details to deforestation-free commitments, it is certainly to the issue of forest definition that it suits best. We have already touched upon the various terms addressing gross, net or even legal conceptions of the pledges, and found out some crucial differences. This is probably even more important in the case of the operational definition a forest, as it determines what qualifies as “deforestation”.

    Debates over the definition of...

  4. (pp. 16-20)

    We describe the Indonesian case, trying as much as possible to connect to the list of issues above. The two sectors – oil palm and pulp and paper – have a history with sustainability/legality efforts over time. They are also associated with slowness and shortcomings. Finally, zero-deforestation is touted as being able to cut through the inertia.

    Palm oil is a prominent, internationally traded, tropical agricultural commodity, with derivatives found in half of the products on our supermarket shelves. In addition, it is emerging as a viable feedstock for biofuels, particularly for domestic biodiesel production in Indonesia. With consumers in...

  5. (pp. 21-22)

    This background paper has presented the rationale of the deforestation-free movement and early implementation in Indonesia, and discussed a number of fundamental issues that will determine its effectiveness. There are opportunities for changing practices and reducing forest conversion in the main industrial sectors: oil palm and pulp and paper, and we could observe that a number of companies have indeed started to modify their approach. Interesting developments are at play with the application of High Carbon Stocks (HCS) and High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) assessments, consultations with rural communities and the acknowledgment that peatland management requires specific measures.

    Yet the...