SustainPalm: Sustainable oil palm Indonesia

A joint implementation program between Indonesia and The Netherlands to support sustainable palm oil production in synergy with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Accelerate the use of land saving practices by increasing outputs, income, and resilience to adverse conditions. This will benefit producers, reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, and avoid biodiversity loss (see figure below).

Image showing the abovementioned project goals.


The program will be executed in Communities of Practice (COPs) and in geographically based Living Labs (LL), where multiple stakeholders are responsible for local implementation of interventions with smallholders, company plantations and mills, and for addressing barriers to implementation. The COPs serve to facilitate the sharing of experiences between Living Labs, capacity building of local service providers, joint assessments, and as a vehicle of joint actions to assure conducive enabling environments, needed for scaling at a national and international level.

The programme is executed in 4 work packages:

WP1 Increasing land use efficiency through oil palm integration with crops and livestock.

This work package will be coordinated by WU (Maja Slingerland) and includes three subthemes: increasing yield (Theme 1.1), oil palm intercropping (Theme1.2) and oil palm cattle integration (Theme 1.3). This WP lead will initiate and thereafter participate in LLs and in COPs on intercropping and will contribute to the COP on integration with livestock.

WP2 Increasing the sustainable use of mill and field biomass residues. Circular and efficient biomass-use.

This work package will be led by WFBR (Wolter Elbersen) and contains two subthemes: Theme 2.1: Circular use of mill residues including residual oil extraction, biogas production and circular palm oil mill; Theme 2.2 circular use of field residues. This WP will be executed in 3 COPs and participate in Living labs.

WP3 Increasing sustainability in carbon and biodiverse landscapes including peat.

This work package will be led by VHL (Peter van der Meer) and contains two subthemes: alternatives to oil palm on peat (Theme 3.1) and biodiversity (Theme 3.2). This WP lead will be initiator and thereafter participant in LLs and one COP on peat.

WP4 Partnership and outreach.

This work package will be led by WU (Aritta Suwarno) and consists of fostering partnerships and internal communication. This includes supporting living labs and COPs by searching and committing relevant partners in close collaboration with WP leads. Under this WP, participation in and organization of dialogue and outreach will be coordinated. This includes assuring participation in (co-organization of) relevant dialogues at the level of policies, certification bodies, private sector (including investors), scientific seminars etc. This also includes the promotion of the program and its findings, including, for instance, a website, policy briefs, manuals, flyers, and regular online posts (e.g. LinkedIn etc.) as well as the production of promotion videos, all in close collaboration with leads of WP1-3.


The program will benefit both Indonesia as a palm oil producer and exporter and the Netherlands as palm oil importer as the program contributes to achieving multiple SDGs. Furthermore, the program shows how it may be possible to comply to EU regulations on deforestation free commodities by maintaining the moratorium on deforestation, without decreasing oil-palm-related income. The program also contributes to achieving the goals of the Indonesian NAP-SPO.

Link with the SDGs: