From 2012-2017 an interdisciplinary research program called 'Towards Environmentally Sustainable and Equitable Palm Oil' will be funded by the Interdisciplinary Research and Education Fund (INREF) of Wageningen University.
Two main objectives 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 will be used to unravel the complex dynamics of the palm oil sector. Through action research stakeholders will be engaged in seeking sustainable pathways.
Eight PhD-students will 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 will 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.
Universities and research institutes in Indonesia and Thailand will be partners in research. The program will also further collaboration with stakeholders in these countries as well as global change agents.
The program is a joint initiative of three graduate schools (WASS, PE&RC and WIMEK), with daily management conducted by four chair groups (Public Administration and Policy, Environmental Policy, Environmental Systems Analysis, Plant Production Systems) and the Centre for Development Innovation. The programme will be coordinated by Dr Otto Hospes of the Public Administration and Policy group.