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The Corporate Sector and Sustainable Landscape Management – The Case of West Kalimantan

Over the past fifteen years, we have witnessed an unprecedented development of palm oil in Indonesia. This is best illustrated by a direct comparison of the development in the two countries that dominate world production (see graph below). 
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Source: http://www.slideshare.net/MPOCEgypt/an-overview-of-malaysian-palm-oil-in-the-global-oils-and-fats-scenario-2015-beyond. Accessed on 03/03/16

The increase in production of palm oil has been achieved by both smallholders and agro-industry. In some parts of Indonesia up to 85% of the land can be held by companies. Against this background, companies are evidently a major factor when we want to achieve sustainable landscape management. But how to engage the private sector; how to develop a sound business case?

Obviously, we are looking for business cases that are sound from the perspective of sustainable landscape management. But the business case must also contribute to the continuity of the company in financial terms and/or in reduced risk exposure. Such a business case will be tailor-made and will usually contain elements such as: increased supply by smallholders, reduced fire exposure, reduced reputational risk, sustained productivity through improved water management and/or less disruption through improved labor relations.

The corporate business case has to be developed in parallel with the community business case. For the latter, the same conditions apply as for the former: any case must also be viable from the financial and/or risk reduction perspective. The village / community level Land Use Plan plays a central role in the development of the community business case.

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Satellite image illustrating some aspects of sustainable landscape management in Ketapang District.
Source: Aidenvironment

While corporate and community initiatives can – and must – go a long way, the business cases will eventually have to feed into the district level planning. It is at this level – and at the central level – that crucial decisions will be made on land classification, peatland management, forest management, infrastructure development, etc.

Aidenvironment is involved in all of the above aspects of landscape management in West Kalimantan. In the coming years we expect that landscape considerations will take a central place in business decisions made in the oil palm sector as well as in other sectors in Indonesia.