The global initiatives related to sustainable commodities always require support and political legitimacy from various global and domestic actors. The trans-national actors have been re-producing the issues on sustainability and environmental degradation. While at national level, in this case is Indonesia, the government responds with economic development based on/considering with the environment sustainability.
Palm oil is one of the featured commodities that has become controversial because on the one hand it is a driving force for the national economy but on the other hand it produces social and ecological problems, such as deforestation, exclusion of indigenous/local people, labor, tenure, environment, and biodiversity. The Indonesian government has to deal with the global pressure regarding with those issues, particularly in the recent years on deforestation caused by the land expansion for plantations, mostly for palm oil plantations by big investors/companies.
There are dynamic changes of palm oil regulations and policies in Indonesia in responding the global pressure, especially from the Global North, while the government’s interest to keep increasing the national income must be done at the same time. These dynamic changes have been involving various actors at all levels, from downstream to upstream, local, national, and global. Those actors are actively involved in debating and contesting the discourse on palm oil and formulate various initiatives to encourage palm oil production in more sustainable way.
The research would like to study how narratives affect in the making and implementation of policies and regulations, especially by making sustainable palm oil regulations through smallholder palm oil intensification programs.
Debbie Prabawati is a PhD student at the Department of Politics and Government, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Indonesia. Her PhD research focus on the dynamic changes of palm oil regulations and policies in Indonesia in responding the global initiatives on sustainability and deforestation-free product, with an emphasis on palm oil intensification program in West Kalimantan. She holds bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UGM and Master of Arts (MA) of political science on human rights and democracy concentration from Department of Politics and Government, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences – UGM.