Our Work What Commodities

Commodities

A poor farmer in the jungles of Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, decides that she wants to try something new to improve her livelihood. With her family, they begin to clear away the forest garden near their village, and plant some oil palm seeds that she was given by a local trader. Somewhere in Europe, a man brushes his teeth, unaware that the toothpaste he is using is made from palm oil from Indonesia. Meanwhile, in a city in North America, an environmental activist group launches a campaign to save the orangutan by boycotting the use of palm oil products.

The supply chains of commodities are complex, global and able to shape nature and society. From the places where commodities are cultivated, harvested or extracted, to the places where they are consumed and disposed of, a complex array of places, people and institutions are involved. Profits are made through these commodity supply chains but most often at the expense of the natural environment. How can we ensure that commodity supply chains do not harm the natural environment? How can we ensure that the benefits from commodity supply chains are shared equitably, and that the rights of the poor and indigenous people are respected?

At INOBU, we focus on studying and understanding the complex supply chains of commodities, and their effects on nature and society. We study commodities that are cultivated whether on land or at sea: from plantation crops such as oil palm and rubber to seaweed and shrimp farming. We study commodities that are harvested: from timber and other non-timber forest products such as rattan and bamboo to freshwater and marine fisheries. We study also those commodities that are extracted through mining and the effects they have on the cultivation and harvesting of commodities for food, fuel and fibre. Through our research we ask: who benefits and who does not from commodities and why, how is the natural environment affected throughout the supply chain and, how can we improve commodity supply chains for the benefit of nature and society?

Throughout the year, we host many events, some of which are open to the general public.

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The New Local Government Law

In September 2014, the Indonesian government enacted the new Local Government Law, Law No. 23/2014 that replaced the old Local Government Law, Law No. 32/2004. Although it recentralizes some authority back to the central level, the new law provides clearer guidance related to the distribution of governmental functions between the central and local governments. This article summarizes the legal analysis of the old and new Local Government Laws. Specifically, this article will analyze the shift of authority and distribution of governmental functions among the central, provincial, and district governments, especially with regards to land-based sectors, including forestry, land, agriculture, and spatial planning.

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How can REDD+ protect the rights of West Papuans and the environment?

The Indonesian central government recently announced economic development as a national priority in West Papua. With commercial interests set to expand, there is an urgent need to implement land-use management systems that safeguard the welfare and rights of indigenous people and their natural environment in the province.

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Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers, Forest Conservation and Climate Change

Intergovernmental fiscal transfers (IFTs) are an innovative way to create incentives for local public actors to support conservation. This book contributes to the debate about how to conserve tropical forests by implementing mechanisms for reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).

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