Palm oil major collaborates with researchers on new conservation strategies

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

'Palm oil is here to stay, and so are small farmers,' said Musim Mas. Pic: Musim Mas
'Palm oil is here to stay, and so are small farmers,' said Musim Mas. Pic: Musim Mas

Related tags Palm oil Indonesia Sustainable palm oil

The Musim Mas Group, one of the world’s largest, integrated palm oil corporations has announced a new collaboration to investigate the conditions under which supply chain sustainability initiatives can lead to reduced deforestation in the palm oil sector, ‘while safeguarding producers’ inclusion’.

The five-year research programme includes Swiss university Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zurich (ETH Zurich) and IPB University (or the Institut Pertanian Bogor) in Indonesia, and will measure how Musim Mas’ Smallholder Programmes, such as the Smallholder Hubs, can contribute to such sustainability goals.

Researchers from ETH Zurich’s Environmental Policy Lab (EPL) and IPB University will collect data based on a combination of farm-level producer surveys, semi-structured expert interviews with local experts along the value chain, and village-level focus group discussions. The project aims to sample up to 80 villages, and to survey up to 1,600 non-industrial palm oil producers over a five-year time frame.

Musim Mas is genuinely pleased to partner with ETH Zurich, one of the most respected universities in the world, and with IPB University, a leading agricultural university in Indonesia, to embark on a five-year longitudinal research to measure the impacts of our work with oil palm smallholders,​” said Olivier Tichit, Director of Sustainability, Musim Mas Group.

Such a long-term commitment is needed to ensure an accurate assessment of the effectiveness of our strategy and programs, which are themselves based on a long-term, patient approach. Palm oil is here to stay, and so are small farmers. This rigorous, impartial review will allow us to further improve our programs, benefiting the farmers and their landscapes​.”

Rachael Garrett, Chair of Environmental Policy, ETH Zurich, said: “This first of its kind partnership will provide groundbreaking evidence on how sustainability initiatives influence oil palm producers’ livelihoods and land use. In particular, through our experimental design we will be able to identify which elements of Musim Mas’ No Peat, No Deforestation and No Exploitation commitments, and Smallholder Programmes are most aligned with achieving benefits for both farmers and the environment, and conversely, where changes to the programs might be needed.” 

About Musim Mas

Headquartered in Singapore, Musim Mas is one of the world’s largest, integrated palm oil corporations with operations in every part of the supply chain across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

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