Seeing like a company: Navigating strategies of palm oil companies with zero-deforestation commitment in Indonesia

Project: PhD

Project Details


Since the early 2010s, four major palm oil companies have individually developed self-regulation to produce deforestation-free palm oil. In 2014 four major palm oil companies established the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) as a collective commitment. Due to the adverse reaction from the Government of Indonesia, the IPOP was self-disbanded in 2016, but the companies continued their zero-deforestation commitment individually, such as part of their “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation” (NDPE) policy The research aims to address two knowledge gaps in studies of governance of the palm oil sector. First, very few scholarly studies have taken palm oil companies as the central subject of research and focused on their self-regulation. Second, there is lack of a contextual or regime complex perspective, showing how companies navigate their self-regulation around different actors and regulatory frameworks. With these knowledge gaps, the main research question is: How do the palm oil companies with zero-deforestation commitments navigate in the dynamic Indonesian palm oil regime? To answer this question, insights were generated on the institutional environment, sectoral dynamics and interactions between companies, public authorities, and NGOs. To answer the main question, the following sub-questions have been formulated: 1. What are the specific dynamics and complexities of the Indonesian palm oil regime? 2. What strategies have palm oil companies developed to respond to governmental regulations and pressures? 3. What strategies have palm oil companies developed to respond to pressures and complaints from NGOs? Using regime complex and corporate political activity as the main theoretical concepts, this dissertation generates insights on how palm oil companies committed to zero deforestation navigate between or across various regulatory frameworks and actors. Using the case study approach, it presents and analyzes the strategies of palm oil companies to navigate around and respond to public regulations and pressures as well as complaints of NGOs.
Effective start/end date1/04/1526/10/22


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