Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
302RC: The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation - Part C
Friday, 26/Apr/2019:
3:00pm - 4:15pm

Session Chair: Kimberly Marie Carlson
Session Chair: Robert Heilmayr
Session Chair: Eric F. Lambin
Session Chair: Ximena Rueda
Session Chair: Rachael Garrett
Location: MB-220
Main Building, room 220, second floor, west wing, 154 (+22) seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Expansion of commodity production has driven substantial deforestation in recent years. In response to pressure from civil society, lenders, and consumers over the corporate role in this forest loss, many companies that are part of tropical commodity supply chains have made commitments to environmentally friendly sourcing. These pledges often aim to alter land use in production landscapes to eliminate deforestation, protect local rights to land, and/or conserve biodiversity and carbon. Commitments are implemented through a variety of supply chain policies including sustainability certifications, market exclusion mechanisms, supply chain transparency disclosures, and corporate codes of conduct. Recent research demonstrates that fully implemented supply-chain interventions can have measurable impacts on producer behaviour and deforestation rates within target supply chains. However, these impacts vary widely by commodity and region of implementation and are insufficient to end global deforestation. Impact evaluations of supply chain governance have largely focused on estimating the direct effects of these policies. Questions about the relative effectiveness of different policies, spillovers of impacts from private governance, interactions with government policies, and unintended social consequences of private environmental policies have all been identified as requiring further research. Empirical analyses of implementation mechanisms and direct and indirect effects on land systems are critical for informing corporate supply chain policy design, as well as developing theoretical understanding of non-state market-driven governance. This session will present the current state of empirical research evaluating the impacts of supply chain governance of land use. The selected empirical evaluations will address questions such as 1) How are supply chain initiatives being designed and implemented? 2) Under what conditions are supply chain governance initiatives effective at meeting their stated goals? 3) What are the unintended consequences of supply chain initiatives on land systems? 4) How does private supply chain governance interact with public policy? The session will highlight the complex policy ecosystems in which zero-deforestation commitments are implemented and how multiple, parallel initiatives influence commitment effectiveness. Session Organizers: Kimberly Carlson, Rachael Garrett, Robert Heilmayr, Eric Lambin, and Ximena Rueda

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Full talk
ID: 500 / 302RC: 1
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: forest degradation, transparency, corporate conservation, biodiversity, soundscapes

Using bioacoustics to strengthen corporate conservation commitments

Zuzana Burivalova, Rhett A. Butler, Edward T. Game

Princeton University, United States of America

Corporate conservation commitments, such as various certification schemes and zero deforestation pledges have become a popular, and widely publicized conservation strategy. Whether or not deforestation has occurred within the concessions of companies that are certified or committed to zero deforestation can be verified through satellite imagery. However, the conservation benefit of such commitments is determined not just by forest loss but also by the level of degradation in those forests left standing: even forests that appear as intact on satellite imagery may have low biodiversity conservation value, due to over-hunting, habitat destruction, invasive species, etc. These forms of degradation are difficult to monitor remotely, so there is a common, but unreasonable assumption that conserving forest cover is equivalent to conserving biodiversity. Bioacoustics, and specifically the recording and analysis of entire soundscapes, could be a suitable tool for monitoring animal biodiversity in the conservation areas of various industries. We will explain how using bioacoustics to monitor the success, or lack thereof, in certified forestry or forests spared through zero deforestation commitments, might be an advantageous solution for all stakeholders involved. We describe the results of a pilot experiment characterizing a timeseries of soundscapes of Bornean tropical lowland forest in a certified logging concession and in a spared conservation zone of an oil palm company committed to zero deforestation. We conclude that soundscape time series can provide a relatively cheap, objective, sensitive, and transparent tool to track industry conservation commitments.

Full talk
ID: 534 / 302RC: 2
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: Certification, Palm Oil, Indonesia, sustainability impact

Acceptance, implications, and perspectives of palm oil certification in indonesia

Jann Lay1,2, Sebastian Renner1,2, Tabea Lakemann1,2, Oliver Musshof2, Ariesga Wening2, Heiko Faust2, Yvonne Kunz2, Nunung Nuryatono3

1GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Germany; 2University of Goettingen, Germany; 3Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia

Increased awareness of adverse consequences of indirect land use change (ILUC), such as high greenhouse gas emissions and loss of biodiversity, has highlighted the need to make palm oil production more sustainable. Both official regulations such as the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels and voluntary measures such as the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) pursue this objective, yet the few existing empirical studies suggest little positive impact of certification on reduced deforestation, biodiversity and household income. The objective of this paper is two-fold: to shed light on the reasons why few positive impacts are found, and to spell out potential future directions for more effective sustainability certification. Our micro-level data from smallholders in Jambi, Indonesia show that under RSPO there are no significant differences in yields, management practices, or price premiums and only 45% of certified smallholders are aware of their certification. Case studies illustrate that adoption seems to be driven mainly by the fear not to be able to sell uncertified palm oil in the future rather than by the strive of producing a more sustainable product. Three policy measures addressing low adoption are tested in framed field experiments, namely a price premium, an environmental information intervention, and invoking group norms to increase the social acceptance of forest preservation. Both price premiums and environmental information resulted in significant reductions in plantation expansion. Taken together, these results suggest potential for enhancing the design and impact of certification schemes. In a final step, we simulate a stylized certification scheme with more ambitious impacts on biodiversity and household incomes while determining the premium price necessary to achieve these improvements.

Full talk
ID: 823 / 302RC: 3
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: Latin America, leakage, palm oil, public-private partnerships, zero-deforestation agreements

The role of national-scale, public-private partnerships toward deforestation-free commodity production in Colombia

Paul R. Furumo1, Clare Sullivan2, Eric F. Lambin1

1Earth System Science, Stanford University; 2University of Wisconsin-Madison

Public-private partnerships are increasingly recognized for their potential in meeting zero-deforestation goals at regional or jurisdictional levels, but very few agreements are implemented nationally across an entire supply chain. In Colombia, a spate of zero-deforestation commitments (ZDCs) has recently been put forward by the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 for palm oil and cattle sectors, and by the Cocoa and Forests Initiative for the cocoa sector. Both initiatives have the goal of zero gross deforestation in supply chains by 2020, using a 2011 forest cover baseline. We interviewed stakeholders to explore the structure and role of actors involved in these novel governance arrangements for each supply chain, focusing on procurement strategies, monitoring, and enforcement at different scales. We sought to understand the agency of different actors in setting rules, as well as the motivations, opportunities, and challenges for these public-private partnerships within and across sectors. We found consistency in the responsibilities of actors, with the Colombian government heavily involved in rule making and monitoring of the agreements. The oil palm ZDC has by far the most participation from the private sector, reflecting the relatively little deforestation caused by this industry in Colombia, and the opportunity to use existing certifications (RSPO, ISCC) to verify compliance. Both initiatives require coordination with ZDCs in other commodity sectors to reduce landscape-scale deforestation, providing a unique opportunity for synergy among initiatives to minimize leakage effects. While most of the palm oil, chocolate, and beef produced in Colombia are consumed domestically, we found that motivations for ZDCs align with recent interest in accessing new markets abroad and coincide with efforts by the Colombian government to meet its nationally determined contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement. The central role of the public sector in initiating, defining, and verifying supply chain ZDCs may be a key ingredient to success.

Full talk
ID: 897 / 302RC: 4
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: RSPO, matching, panel, well-being, oil palm

Do sustainability standards for palm oil production improve social well-being in Indonesia?

Janice Ser Huay Lee1, Daniela A. Miteva2, Kimberly Marie Carlson3, Robert Heilmayr4, Omar Saif1

1Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, Singapore; 2Ohio State University, USA; 3University of Hawaii, USA; 4University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Sustainability certification standards are a form of nonstate market-driven governance initiative which are used as to ensure that production of goods or crops are carried out in an environment and socially responsible manner. Palm oil sustainability certification standards, such as the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), include environment and social criteria aimed at mitigating environmental degradation and improving social well-being outcomes in producing regions. Recent studies show that RSPO-certified plantations have a lower deforestation rate compared to non-certified plantations. However, the effect of certification on improving social well-being outcomes has yet to be rigorously tested. We analyzed the effect of certification on social well-being outcomes in Indonesia, the largest global supplier of RSPO-certified palm oil. We derived village-level longitudinal data from the Village Potential (Potensi Desa) survey for villages associated with RSPO-certified plantations and villages associated with non-certified plantations in four provinces in Sumatra and five provinces in Kalimantan. We applied a quasi-experimental counterfactual analysis using matching techniques and applied difference-in-difference and panel models to compare the social well-being outcomes in RSPO-certified villages and non-certified villages. We show a non-random placement of RSPO concessions in Kalimantan and Sumatra that is influenced by forest cover in year 2000, proximity to infrastructure, elevation, and state regulations on land-use. Our difference-in-difference analysis showed that RSPO-certified villages reported less incidences of water and air pollution compared to non-certified villages in Kalimantan, but showed no results for Sumatra. Our panel regression analysis showed that RSPO-certified villages had more private education facilities than non-certified villages in Kalimantan, and more health facilities in Sumatra. These preliminary results show how sustainability certification standards such as the RSPO could contribute towards village-level well-being and highlights the need for more robust social data to be collected to evaluate the effectiveness of RSPO’s impact on ‘People, Planet and Profit’.

Flash talk
ID: 580 / 302RC: 5
302R The role of supply-chain initiatives in reducing deforestation
Keywords: land use change, leakage, spillovers, supply chain, agricultural rents, spatial model

Modeling the effects of soybean sector zero-deforestation commitment implementation on land cover change in South America

Rodrigo Rivero Castro1, Kimberly Carlson1, Rachael Garrett2, Nelson Villoria3, Samuel Levy2, Florian Gollnow4

1University of Hawaii at Manoa, United States of America; 2Boston University, United States of America; 3Kansas State University, United States of America; 4National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, United States of America

Agricultural commodity expansion is a leading cause of tropical deforestation. Public concern over the responsibility of companies along these commodity supply chains for forest loss has led many corporations to adopt zero-deforestation commitments (ZDCs), pledges not to buy or handle products produced on recently deforested or currently forested lands. In some cases, ZDC implementation has reduced deforestation within target supply chains. Yet, ZDCs differ in their implementation details, including timelines and coverage areas (e.g., biome, forest type), and we lack systematic understanding of how such details affect ZDCs success in preserving forests. Moreover, region-specific ZDCs may displace deforestation to areas not covered by commitments.

Our research aims to evaluate the potential effects of ZDCs on tropical land cover by addressing the following questions: How do implementation timelines and area of coverage affect ZDCs success at conserving forests? If commodity expansion is displaced, what is the distribution of displacement across space and land cover types? To answer these questions, we built a land change model that simulates the effects of soy industry ZDC implementation across Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay, which together account for half of global soybean production. The model uses biophysical and socio-economic variables, including the cost of compliance with ZDCs, to predict land cover changes associated with soy demand. The simulation incorporates spatio-temporal patterns of company sourcing and commitment details reported by Trase, Forest 500, and Supply Change. We evaluate land cover outcomes under different scenarios, including variation of ZDC implementation dates, areas covered, and levels of displacement.

Our results are expected to provide insight into how ZDC characteristics affect land cover change associated with agricultural demand, including locations of displacement. By identifying combinations of implementation details most likely to preserve forests, the work informs design of future and re-evaluation of current ZDCs.

Flash talk
ID: 781 / 302RC: 6
112R Sustainability impacts of large scale agricultural investments
Keywords: palm oil production model, Latin America, Central Africa, Southeast Asia, RSPO

Small-scale palm oil producers and supply chain actors left out from existing certification schemes

Laurène Feintrenie1,2,3, Laurent Gazull1, Colombine Lesage1,4,5, Mélanie Laumain1,6, Tom Farago1,3,6, Valentina Robiglio3, Isabelle Michel6, Claire Durand6,7, Richard Pasquis1

1Cirad, Univ Montpellier, France; 2Catie, Costa-Rica; 3Icraf, Kenya; 4ENSAIA Nancy, France; 5Université de Lorraine, France; 6IRC-Montpellier SupAgro, France; 7ISTOM, France

Agricultural history explains most of current palm oil production models (organization of actors including oil palm growers and supply chains). An indigenous non-timber forest product in Central Africa which plant was domesticated and integrated into family farming, later joined by colonial industrial plantations. An imported cash crop in Southeast Asia, dominated by industrial producers while smallholders have still to learn artisanal milling to get their autonomy from industrial mills. Also an imported cash crop in Latin America, but whose production models evolved in the confrontation with social agrarian reforms, ending with original ‘social models’. These production models have a great diversity of social, economic and environmental impacts. Taking into consideration national specificities (social organization, market, public policies, and environment) and local knowledge regarding palm oil, can we draw lessons learnt from one place to improve palm oil local and global benefits in another? Industrial models are targeted to promote sustainable and zero-deforestation in the palm oil sector, because industries are generally considered as the main culprits of deforestation and land grabbing resulting from oil palm plantations expansion in Southeast Asia. However the expansion patterns in the original producing countries of Africa or in Latin America might prove different. Hence, are certification schemes efficient to shape sustainable oil palm landscapes? In an attempt to answer these questions, we built on pantropical expertise in palm oil producing countries (Indonesia, Central African countries, Colombia) with strong field experience, on literature review and on recent field work in Mexico and Peru, to argue on the inadequacy of certification schemes to reach non-industrial palm oil production models. Furthermore, we highlight some social and economic risks reinforced by this strategy, such as exclusion of smallholders from supply chains, or the development of informal supply chains not regulated regarding working conditions and environment impacts.