Sustainability Certification and Palm Oil Smallholders’ Livelihood: A Comparison between Scheme Smallholders and Independent Smallholders in Indonesia

Most sustainability certifications in Indonesia are developed by Northern-based businesses and NGOs to regulate the production of agricultural commodities in the South. However, research still shows a lot of uncertainty about what sustainability certifications imply for the livelihood of smallholder farmers. Given these uncertainties, this paper explores the potential of certifications to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers. To achieve this objective we developed an amended livelihood framework applied to an exploratory study of Indonesian smallholders who participate in the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Although access to markets and vulnerability are not improved through certification, indirect effects through organizational changes increase productivity. If certification schemes are weakly institutionalized, farmers will easily shift to a more profitable way of production. Further analysis is needed to discover the balance between the ethical aspects of certification while improving economic profitability for participating smallholders.

Issue Date:
Sep 01 2015
Publication Type:
Journal Article
DOI and Other Identifiers:
(ISSN #: 1559-2448) (Other)
Record Identifier:
PURL Identifier:
Published in:
International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, 18, 3
Page range:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
N50; N55; Q01; Q02; Q56
The International Food and Agribusiness Management Review is published quarterly by IFAMA. For more information visit:
Series Statement:
Volume 18
Issue 3

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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