From forest encroachment to protection

IDH brings together the sourcing commitments of companies, the jurisdictional power of governments, and the knowledge and networks of local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to develop strategies which encourage forest protection in supply chains. Thereby reducing encroachment on new forest areas and forest degradation.

Challenges to mitigation of deforestation

Agriculture is the biggest driver of deforestation worldwide. Each year, between 12 and 15 million ha of tropical forests disappear, affecting biodiversity and contributing to climate change. To respond to the challenge, a growing number of retailers, manufacturers, processors and traders in the food, fuel and fiber sectors are making public commitments to establish deforestation-free supply chains. In addition, national governments are introducing procurement policies to purchase certified commodities.

Delivering on these commitments requires to go beyond single product and single site certification, and address sustainability challenges beyond the farm gate, at a landscape level.

2020 Goals

  • 5,4

    Million ha of farm and pasture land under sustainable land use

  • 150,000

    ha of forest restored

  • 5

    million ha of sustainably managed forest

Our Approach

IDH focuses on deforestation-vulnerable landscapes in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Indonesia, and Brazil, across pulp and paper, palm oil, timber, soy, tea, and cocoa supply chains. We aim to create sustainable land governance models, improve degraded land, and create economically viable production and protection areas. The outcome of these plans a reduction of deforestation and forest degradation.

Sector governance

In selected landscapes, IDH convenes multi-stakeholder coalitions, in which companies, local governments, communities and civil society work together to identify the desirable future for the landscape – through development of Green Growth Plans. These plans set the high-level vision for the landscape, are implementable over the medium and long-term, and balance the social, environmental and economic interests of stakeholders.

At a higher level, the multi-stakeholder coalition will help strengthen regulatory frameworks, enforcement of regulations and laws, and improve land use planning. Some projects will also include the creation of verified sourcing areas in certain landscapes, guaranteeing to commodity buyers that these landscapes are “deforestation-free” areas.

Implementation of the Green Growth Plan is supported by Production, Protection and Inclusion (PPI) compacts, which are local-level arrangements between landscape stakeholders. The compacts define the terms of the collaboration between business, communities, local authorities and government to ensure development of economic and livelihood opportunities under the condition of forest and/or natural resources (e.g. water) protection. These agreements contain different mechanisms to create new revenue opportunities for communities, intensify agricultural production, implement sustainable land management practices etc.

Field level sustainability

The high-level targets identified by the multi-stakeholder coalitions and detailed in the PPI Compacts will be met through the design and implementation of field-level interventions that aim to:

  • Improve farming practices, which may include sustainable intensification of land use, to reduce pressure on forests (Sustainable production);
  • Secure community’s livelihoods, through creation of new income generating activities (Inclusion);
  • Protect forests and restore degraded land (Protection)

Business practices

Private sector engagement is critical to the success of the multi-stakeholder coalitions and design/implementation of field-level interventions. IDH influences business practices at different levels:

  • At global level, we work towards increasing companies’ commitment to ending deforestation in their supply chain. We do so by creating sector coalitions together with sector associations and governments;
  • At field level, we support the operationalization of companies’ no-deforestation commitments, by facilitating companies’ engagement in landscape approaches.

Over the long run, we aim to systematize business adoption of landscape approaches as a way of embedding sustainability throughout the entire commodity supply chain. In particular, we will promote adoption of production, protection and inclusion approaches in companies’ business models.


India is the largest net importer of palm oil and consumes 13.5% of global production, making it one of the largest global markets for the commodity. The annual consumption of palm oil at around 10 MMT significantly exceeds domestic production which is less than 0.3 MMT. This gap is bridged primarily through imports from producing geographies of Indonesia and Malaysia, where palm plantations contribute to massive deforestation and peatland destruction.

This also gives India agency, making it well-positioned to demand palm oil produced in a responsible manner without deforestation risk. It is also well placed to further strengthen South-South Cooperation while providing regional stewardship for the trade of responsibly sourced commodities including palm oil. Read more on how India is reducing its deforestation footprint here.

IDH works on driving responsible sourcing for palm oil in India through its markets program. IDH works on three key verticals of convening, confidential disclosure and linking buyers to VSA. We do this by bringing together market, civil society and policy stakeholders and contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (in particular SDG 12) through market transformation.

Find out more about our work as we continue to convene market and policy stakeholders and link buyers to responsible palm oil suppliers.

Click here to read about the Palm market in India

Relevant publications

Where we strive for mitigation of deforestation

Select an option...
World map
Côte d’Ivoire
Landscapes: Wider Tai Forest Area
Landscapes: Aceh West Kalimantan
Landscapes: Mato Grosso
Landscapes: South West Mau Forest
Landscapes: Central Rift Valley
Sectors: Tropical timber
Sectors: Tropical timber

Contact us to learn more

There are two kinds of companies: those that sell sustainable products... and those that will...