In agricultural commodity chains, companies with sizeable market shares are stepping up sustainability commitments through so-called ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation’ (NDPE) policies – yet the delivery is fraught with difficulties. Drawing on theories of hybrid public-private governance this paper explores how commodity chain actors themselves view the limitations of private regulation and the prospects for more effective supply-chain governance. As a case study, we present interview data from the palm oil commodity chains linking growers in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, with retailers in Europe. The findings demonstrate awareness of shortcomings in existing arrangements and the need for a stronger presence of both the Indonesian state and European governments. We discuss potential hybrid governance measures, highlighting the need for a pluralistic strategy that mobilizes the combined positive forces of civil society, business and government(s). We argue that, to advance such an agenda, hybrid governance must be conceptualized not simply as a matter of blending (and hence reifying) pre-existing and often highly problematic private and public institutions but as a question of how all such institutions may themselves be more thoroughly democratized in the process.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: May 10, 2018
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