Sustainable production and consumption of palm oil in Indonesia: What can stakeholder perceptions offer to the debate?

Raquel Moreno-Peñaranda*, Alexandros Gasparatos, Per Stromberg, Aki Suwa, Andante Hadi Pandyaswargo, Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Meeting the global demand for palm oil poses great sustainability challenges. Indonesia is experiencing one of the largest oil palm expansions worldwide. Important socioeconomic and environmental impacts of the palm oil sector remain unsolved including conflicts over land tenure, loss of biodiversity, air pollution and emission of greenhouse gases. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a multi-stakeholder alliance promoting best practices along palm oil supply chains. However, the RSPO's potential to truly enhance the sustainability of palm oil production and consumption has been questioned. The different stakeholder groups that comprise the RSPO often hold different agendas and perspectives, posing a barrier for enhancing the sustainability of the sector. Moreover, RSPO stakeholders' perceptions may not be necessarily attuned to local realities and sensibilities in Indonesia. This paper, (a) provides a rapid appraisal of the perceptions on the barriers for improving palm oil sustainability as held by the main RSPO stakeholder groups and (b) contrasts them with the views of local communities in oil palm expansion areas. Our results suggest that RSPO stakeholders' perceptions about enhancing palm oil sustainability are overall highly divergent. However there seemed to be an underlying common optimism among some RSPO stakeholders and local communities about the feasibility of a technical fix. Understanding RSPO stakeholders' perceptions can enrich the current debate about the sustainable production and consumption of palm oil that is usually informed by rigorous yet highly compartmentalized research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-35
Number of pages20
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Indonesia
  • Local communities
  • Palm oil
  • RSPO
  • Stakeholder perceptions
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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