In 2014, the four largest palm oil trading companies signed an agreement to end deforestation, development of peat lands and exploitation of locals not only with their own operations, but also from all of their suppliers. For environmental NGOs, the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (as the agreement was named) represented a dramatic advance in their decades-long efforts to protect the Indonesian rainforest from further destruction.
One year later the situation appeared to have reversed. Leading figures in the government of Indonesia were calling upon the companies to withdraw their pledge. And the 2015 fire season was the worst in nearly two decades, as would-be oil palm growers set fire to rainforests and peatlands to clear them for planting. What should the companies do? What influence levers should the NGOs use to try to salvage the agreement? And what path should government officials who were sympathetic to environmental concerns take to try to balance the environment with an interest in development?
The Yale School of Management’s work on this Global Network case study has been made possible by the generous support of
The Brad Huang ’90 Fund for Innovation in Case Studies
The Jane Mendillo YC ’80, ’84 MBA and Ralph Earle ’84 MBA Fund
The National University of Singapore Business School participation benefited from the generous support of
The Musim Mas Endowment