This sub-project generates insights into how different global and national authorities and legalities directed at promotion of sustainable palm oil in Indonesia interact, mingle, hybridize or conflict. A theoretical conceptualization on network governance will be developed through studying interactions between different actors and legalities seeking to govern sustainability of palm oil. This project will also develop critical ways in which network governance can contribute to sustainable palm oil on the basis of a study of the role of the Indonesian government.
Much of the international debate on environmental and economic impacts of palm oil production in Indonesia has been orchestrated by and concentrated at the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as a global private authority on these matters. This research wants to redress this bias by exploring the roles and engagement of Indonesian state actors in promoting sustainable palm oil. Indonesia is the world largest producer of palm oil and the government has planned to expand the palm oil production areas considerably between 2012 and 2020. The first main question is: to what extent, how and why do Indonesian state actors try to maintain a balance between environmental protection and economic development in promoting the expansion of sustainable palm oil in Indonesia? The second main question is: what governance arrangements have been proposed and adopted by Indonesian state actors in doing so?
To generate answers to these questions, three fields of research have been selected in which Indonesian state actors face critical choices: the governance of different standards and partnerships, the organization of intra-state or interdepartmental collaboration, and governance of financial investments in the financial sector.
To analyse the different roles and engagements of Indonesian state actors in these fields, two complementary theories will be used and developed at the interface of development state theory and environmental state theory: the green state theory and the concept of embedded autonomy. Main ingredients of the methodological menu are case study analysis, critical theoretical analysis and action research.