At the bottom of the value chain: sustainability certification and the livelihoods of palm oil smallholders in Indonesia

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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The production of palm oil is widely criticized for its adverse effects on the environment and the vulnerable position under which its producers work. Private and public sustainability certifications attempt to eliminate these adverse effects. Participation of farmers in sustainability schemes is expected to accelerate a transformation towards a more sustainable production and to improve smallholders’ livelihoods. This research reveals that private certification positively affects smallholders’ livelihoods. The intensity of the effects however, is very limited. Public certification, induced by the Indonesian government is, in its current form, not able to induce systemic and significant sustainability changes. The proposition is to combine involvement of the Indonesian government, participatory approaches, and the prioritization of a landscape approach over a single-crop approach to enable a more sustainable future for Indonesian palm oil smallholders.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Glasbergen, Pieter, Supervisor
  • Arifin, B., Supervisor, External person
  • Offermans, Astrid, Advisor
Award date28 Sep 2017
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789461597441
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • palm oil
  • environment
  • sustainability
  • certification
  • Indonesia

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