SustainPalm: Sustainable oil palm Indonesia

A joint implementation program between Indonesia and The Netherlands to support sustainable palm oil production in synergy with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Netherlands and Indonesia have a common interest in palm oil. With the value chain connected to both countries, the SustainPalm consortium is dedicated to implement viable strategies that promote sustainability across the palm oil production process.

Our strategies target efficient and effective land use via intercropping and integrating livestock that increases livelihood security for smallholder farmers and generates revenues via increased area-based productivity. Improved area-based productivity also has the potential to reduce pressure for land conversion that contributes to enhance biodiversity. Special attention is warranted to oil palm production on peatlands. Viable strategies on peatland include diversification and intercropping as well as new management measures including rewetting and phasing out of oil palm production in underproductive areas.

The solution to improving palm oil sustainability go beyond land use systems only. Hence, SustainPalm also focuses on residual oil extraction from palm oil mill effluent (POME) and biogas production to increase efficiency and reduce fossil fuel use at the mills. Also using field residues such as utilizing palm trunks for veneer, timber or sugar production are being experimented.


SustainPalm involves two main implementation approaches: Living Labs and Communities of Practice which enables different stakeholders across the palm oil supply chain to become involved.

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Living Labs

Local, national and international research, public, and private partners collaborate in Living Labs. Technologies and innovations are tested based on the need of the different stakeholders. Living Labs are generally location specific.

In Living Labs different stakeholders test practices in real-time settings. Researchers and stakeholders jointly identify problems, test, and evaluate practical solutions. They exchange knowledge, viewpoints, and experiences, and learn from each other in real-life settings. Stakeholders are involved in setting applied research, experimentation and implementation agenda. They act as change-agents to ensure they directly benefit from research and experiment results. Different stakeholder views on sustainability in palm oil production are recognized to test alternative innovations in which synergies and trade-offs between environment and economy are addressed.

A Living Lab approach further stimulates reflexivity among stakeholders. By joint learning, dialogues and co-creation of knowledge and innovations, stakeholders can express motives, reactions and feelings.

Communities of Practice

Where Living Labs are location specific, Communities of Practice function as space where technologies and innovations are shared, improved and consolidated, with the aim for further scaling program outputs. Communities of Practice form connections between members of different Living Labs. In these Communities, lessons learned can be shared and enables engagement in dialogues with different stakeholders. Communities of Practice are not bound to a specific location.

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The program will benefit both Indonesia as a palm oil producer and exporter and the Netherlands as palm oil importer as the program contributes to achieving multiple SDGs. Furthermore, the program shows how it may be possible to comply to EU regulations on deforestation free commodities by maintaining the moratorium on deforestation, without decreasing oil-palm-related income. The program also contributes to achieving the goals of the Indonesian NAP-SPO.

Link with the SDGs

Programme Consortium

A joint implementation program between Indonesia and The Netherlands to support sustainable palm oil production in synergy with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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SustainPalm is supported by

Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs Indonesia
Kingdom Of Netherlands