“Palm oil is a strategic commodity worldwide. Palm oil plantation expansion is highly debated as well as the emergence of certification standards that aim to promote sustainable production. Particularly debated are the effects of certification on smallholders. Smallholders are vulnerable and they generally lack capital and skills to comply with the certification requirements.
This study will focus on the capacity of sustainable certification to improve smallholders’ livelihood, the manifestation of these capacities and factors that may contribute to positive changes of certification on smallholders’ livelihoods. Current research is fragmented as it uses different variables to measure the effects of certification on livelihoods. Therefore research outcomes seem very conflicting. To choose and to organize variables in a more meaningful and structured way, we integrated the livelihood concept and impact assessment models into a new research framework.
In our first fieldwork we validated this research framework through semi-structured interviews with several stakeholders e.g. farmers, farmers organizations, company, government and NGOs”. This offered relevant insights for better understanding the effects of certification on smallholder’s livelihoods.