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Certifying sustainability: Independent oil palm smallholders' experiences of the RSPO certification process in the Riau province, Indonesia
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Economic Geography.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Palm oil is a growing market, and environmental and social concerns have led to a global demand of sustainable palm oil. In this study I investigate the certification process of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) from the experiences of independent smallholders. I perform interviews and observations in two independent smallholder associations in the Riau province in Indonesia who are in the end of the RSPO certification process. What I find is that most smallholders have extrinsic motivators (an increase in price) for wanting to join the certi fication, but that a few smallholders express intrinsic motivators as well (a care for the environment). I find that the certification process is creating a lot of changes to the agricultural practices of the smallholders, mainly regarding harvest, fertilisation, pesticide usage, and pruning. The challenges that the independent smallholders experience mainly regard their knowledge, level of organisation, institutional support, fertilisation, and documentation. I find that many of the smallholders use traditional knowledge while the RSPO is an organisation that mainly use modern knowledge, and I claim that some of the dif ficulties that independent smallholders experience when certifying derives from this collision of knowledge systems. Lastly, I claim that the organisation is an expression of modernity and risk society, and that the rise of voluntary sustainability certi fications the last decade can be seen as a response to the modern risk of climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 63 p.
Uppsatser Kulturgeografiska institutionen
Keyword [en]
palm oil, independent smallholders, RSPO certification, sustainability, Indonesia
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-275098OAI: diva2:898810
Subject / course
Human geography
Educational program
Master Programme in Social Sciences
Available from: 2016-02-02 Created: 2016-01-29 Last updated: 2016-02-02Bibliographically approved

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