NI-SCOPS: Palm Oil Solutions at Scale

Taking place in landscapes across Nigeria, Ghana, Malaysia and Indonesia, the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders aims to close the sustainability gap in palm oil production.

palm oil smallholder Nigeria

For many in the developing world palm oil means food security, employment, and financial health. But its global expansion is associated with significant greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and harsh labour conditions. Smallholders produce most of the world’s palm oil, and they can’t seem to adapt to new sustainable standards. Because of this there have been calls to halt the production of palm oil altogether.

At Solidaridad and The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) we know that 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. Our solution are the National Initiatives for Sustainable Oil Palm Smallholders, the NI-SCOPS Programme.

Working with smallholders

In four counties

To Make Palm Oil Work

For them

And making it sustainable

For the world

What is the NI-SCOPS Approach?

What is NI-SCOPS? NI-SCOPS is a programme that operates in landscapes in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Ghana, aiming to create partnerships to make palm oil production sustainable and beneficial to all. This means supporting smallholder farmers to live in balance with nature. But first that requires the right techniques and the right partnerships. And of course this means closing the certification gap, and taking our landscape approach to a global level.

But if we are going to reach this goal, we need an ambitious approach.

We support smallholders with implementing climate smart agriculture (CSA). This is aimed at creating thriving and resilient oil palm landscapes, improving community livelihoods, reducing GHG emissions from deforestation and making farms, forests and communities resilient to climate change. To make this work we need to learn from our projects as they progress. Together with our partners we have developed robust quantitative KPIs to ensure that the real impact of these measures can be assessed.

We engage with governments at national and sub-national level. This is key to our programme. We need to create an enabling policy environment for sustainable palm oil production. This means that the right people in the right position can address issues like land rights and landscape planning and monitoring. Civil society and the local and international private sector support the project to create change at the landscape and the global level.

You can already be sure that your suppliers are doing their bit to minimize the impact of palm oil by buying RSPO certified palm oil. But certification is a costly process, forcing many smallholders to sell on unregulated markets unless they want to bear the highest costs for moving towards sustainable production. With NI-SCOPS we focus on the complex realities of palm oil. By creating an adaptive methodology, built with smallholders and not merely for them, NI-SCOPS helps smallholders reach a greater level of sustainability at a much greater scale than ever before, paving the way for future certification.

NI-SCOPS is not locked to a specific region, and its innovative public-private collaboration, robust climate smart methodology and ethos are adaptable around the world. So the project’s methods can be deployed to reach new prospects, creating better conditions for producers, and a more sustainable world. The programme actively engages smallholder producers themselves to come up with solutions to unsustainable palm oil and support each other (e.g. by putting better rules in place, making cleaner technologies available, sharing costs for dispersing knowledge on good agricultural practices, etc.).

Learn More about NI-SCOPS work around the globe

NI-SCOPS is not about ticking an administrative box that says certified. It is about making real change on the ground. Good for those who produce palm oil, and for the planet as a whole. NI-SCOPS raises the floor, and not just the ceiling, to contribute to the livelihoods of smallholders and to a future where sustainable palm oil is the norm, not an exception.

Are you interested in learning more? You can reach out to our Programme Manager, Tessa van Hoorn.

NI-SCOPS is a partnership of:

Want to learn more or get involved with NI-SCOPS? Contact our programme coordinator.

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Tessa van Hoorn

NI-SCOPS Programme Coordinator