From 2012-2017 the interdisciplinary research program called 'Towards Environmentally Sustainable and Equitable Palm Oil: promoting sustainable pathways by exploring connections between flows, networks and systems at multiple levels' or in short ‘SUSPENSE’ is funded by the Interdisciplinary Research and Education Fund (INREF) of Wageningen University.

The two main objectives of this five year research program are (1) to identify sustainable pathways for the production, processing and governing of palm oil and (2) to enable different stakeholders to contribute to a more environmentally sustainable and equitable palm oil sector in a science-based and concerted way.

For this purpose theories on flows, networks and systems are used to unravel the complex dynamics of the palm oil sector. Through action research stakeholders are engaged in seeking sustainable pathways.

Eight PhD-students perform a multi-disciplinary and multi-level research of the palm oil commodity chain, with senior researchers and a post-doc contributing to integration at program level. Research activities of the entire production chain take place in Indonesia and Thailand, but also include analysis of transboundary commodity flows and global governance arrangements and how these contribute to more or less environmentally sustainable and equitable palm oil.