Dutch policies have advocated sustainable commodity value chains, which have implications for the landscapes from which these commodities originate. This study examines governance and policy options for sustainability in terms of how ecosystem services are addressed in cocoa, soy, tropical timber and palm oil value chains with Dutch links. A range of policies addressing ecosystem services were identified, from market governance (certification, payments for ecosystem services) to multi-actor platforms (roundtables) and public governance (policies and regulations). An analysis of policy narratives and interviews identified if and how ecosystem services are addressed within value chains and policies; how the concept has been incorporated into value chain governance; and which governance options are available. The Dutch government was found to take a steering but indirect role in all the cases, primarily through supporting, financing, facilitating and partnering policies. Interventions mainly from end-of-chain stakeholders located in processing and consumption countries resulted in new market governance, notably voluntary sustainability standards. These have been successful in creating awareness of some ecosystem services and bringing stakeholders together. However, they have not fully addressed all ecosystem services or stakeholders, thus failing to increase the sustainability of value chains or of the landscapes of origin. We argue that chains sourced in tropical landscapes may be governed more effectively for sustainability if voluntary, market policy tools and governance arrangements have more integrated goals that take account of sourcing landscapes and impacts along the entire value chain. Given the international nature of these commodities. These findings have significance for debates on public-private approaches to value chain and landscape governance.
- Ecosystem services
- Integrated landscape approach
- Tropical agricultural commodities
- Value chain governance