Driving sustainable palm oil

Last week we hosted, together with RSPO and European Palm Oil Alliance, a virtual Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue. Because this new digital format was not dependent of a physical space, it allowed the attendance of close to 500 stakeholders from all continents to discuss together sustainable palm oil.


For years, IDH has been supporting the production of traceable and sustainable palm oil, and today we are more than 30 colleagues working on this commodity. Since 2015, IDH is focussing on the European palm oil consuming markets. We monitor uptake (our latest data showing that the European market imported 86% sustainable palm oil), and work on policy frameworks through support of the National Initiatives with EPOA and the Verified Sourcing Area approach to strengthen sustainable supply chains. In Brussels, we will continue to promote regulatory and non-regulatory approaches that aim to make a positive impact on the ground. In 2019, IDH has also started working on the Indian consuming market. There, we convene stakeholders, monitor uptake and work on policy, as we do on the European market. Similarly, from 2021 onwards, we will start working in China, one of the major palm oil consumer countries in the world.

Linking markets to responsible production in landscapes 

At IDH, we link the market work to responsible production in landscapes in Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Colombia. In Colombia, we just signed a €1.2 million co-financing agreement with Fedepalma and Cenipalma, aiming to reach over 1500 producers (82% of them small producers). In Nigeria and Malaysia (Sabah), we also focus on improving smallholder livelihoods. In Indonesia, IDH is active in Aceh, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Papua and West Papua to drive sustainable economic development at a jurisdictional level with a focus on production, protection and inclusion.

Landscape finance

As part of the strategy to scale up investments in landscape approaches, IDH supports blended finance funds and manages related technical assistance facilities. An interesting development for example is the &Green Fund 10-year loan of USD $30 million to Indonesian oil palm company PT Dharma Satya Nusantara Tbk (DSNG), who has most of its plantations in East Kalimantan. To enable more efficient sourcing from producing areas and scale up investments in these areas, the development of the Verified Sourcing Areas approach also continues full throttle.

Curious to what experts and stakeholders said during the Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue? Please visit the Dialogue website to find the speakers’ presentations, position papers and background documents here. The sessions’ recordings will be available soon.

Click here to find out more about IDH palm oil work