Integrating ecosystem services into the tropical commodity value chain : cocoa, soy and palm oil

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

Abstract

This technical report explores the governance options available to the Dutch government to promote the sustainable use and maintenance of ecosystem services in tropical commodity value chains with Dutch links. It examines how ecosystem services can be given a more explicit role in public and market mechanisms, using the cocoa, soy, palm oil and timber chains as case studies. The document presents a discourse analysis of the way Dutch policies and practice address ecosystem services, updating the report of a forerunner study on the timber chain (Van den Berg et al. 2013). The discourse analysis indicates that the term ecosystem services still lacks a clear definition in Dutch policy, with ecosystem services largely being seen as an economic issue, which can be solved by market drive, voluntary and multi-actor value chain based solutions. The report presents results of a detailed examination of specific cases of innovation in sustainability initiatives and payments for ecosystem services projects in the cocoa chain, the Round Table for Responsible Soy (RTRS) and the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Lessons learnt from the analysis of these cases include the need to simplify what is meant by ecosystem services – for example using the term natural capital - to make it more appealing and intuitive, particularly for business. More evidence is needed on the impact of certification and how it maintains or enhances ecosystem services. Internationally agreed impact indicators are also recommended. The array of available certification schemes could be harmonised. A mix of policy instruments appears to offer more scope for the government, using market based ‘carrots’ and incentive-based ‘sticks’ (such as tax incentives and pilot projects) to stimulate new partnerships and initiatives. Challenges include giving ecosystem services an explicit role in policysupported innovations, and engaging with all value chain stakeholders, particularly community and consumer organisations.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherStatutory Research Tasks Unit for Nature & the Environment (WOT Natuur & Milieu)
Number of pages101
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameWOt-technical report
PublisherStatutory Research Tasks Unit for Nature & the Environment (WOT Natuur & Milieu)
No.6
ISSN (Print)2352-2747

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Keywords

  • ecosystem services
  • theobroma cacao
  • cocoa
  • glycine soja
  • palm oils
  • value chain analysis
  • commodities
  • sustainability
  • tropics
  • innovations

Cite this

van den Berg, J., Ingram, V. J., Judge, L. O., & Arets, E. J. M. M. (2014). Integrating ecosystem services into the tropical commodity value chain : cocoa, soy and palm oil. (WOt-technical report; No. 6). Wageningen: Statutory Research Tasks Unit for Nature & the Environment (WOT Natuur & Milieu).