Yet, its global expansion is associated with significant greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and harsh labour conditions. This has led to calls to halt the production of palm oil altogether. Solidaridad and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) believe there is a better solution. With partners across the globe we are designing new ways for producers to contribute to a supply chain that is sustainable for the environment and for the communities that depend on it.
With support from the Dutch government, four National Initiatives for Sustainable Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NI-SCOPS) have been set up with Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Ghana.
The goal is to prove that the palm oil sector can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement climate ambitions. Scientifically robust quantitative indicators have been developed to monitor the impact of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in oil palm landscapes. Besides local and national governments, civil society and the private sector are involved in creating change at all levels.
In collaboration with local governments, NI-SCOPS seeks to create an enabling environment that allows smallholder farmers and workers to implement improvements that limit waste and protect workers. This way, palm oil communities will become more resilient to climate change and even become net sinks of greenhouse gases, while becoming more just and profitable.
The creation of a sustainable supply chain for palm oil cannot be driven by market measures alone. Only the support of governments, local and national, can lead to the sustainable, at-scale changes needed to turn palm oil from a problem to a solution.
IDH and Solidaridad are working with smallholders on implementation of climate-smart agriculture.
The initiatives are public-private-sector partnership programmes, co-owned by national and local governments. Implementation is coordinated by Solidaridad and IDH in cooperation with farmers and the private sector. Through NI-SCOPS farmers are trained on Climate Smart Agricultural Practices.
The principles of climate-smart agriculture are improved livelihoods as well as climate adaptation and mitigation. Methodologies to monitor and assess the progress of the Key Performance Goals of NI-SCOPS are under development in partnership with national oil palm knowledge institutes, supported by an international research partner. By working with key metrics, continuous improvement can be objectively measured, compared and aggregated at the national level. This showcases that with the support of farmers, companies and governments sustainable palm oil production is not only possible, but also a great opportunity.
The magnitude of the challenge in countries like Indonesia and Nigeria, means Dutch funding alone will not suffice to create scalable impact. If you represent a body concerned with palm oil, or a company that benefits from its use, we encourage you to get involved.
States or companies can work with NI-SCOPS by:
- Supporting the implementation of the programme at a local level;
- Becoming a Donor, financially co-funding the global project;
- Lending their expertise on development as an Innovation Partner;
- And helping us reach a wider audience through their networks.
Need more information or want to go into more detail? Check out this donor Q&A which goes into the most important aspects of NI-SCOPS in more depth.