Cleaner production in the Indonesian pulp and paper sector: Improving sustainability and legality compliance in the value chain

Depi Susilawati, Peter Kanowski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Indonesia’s internationally- and domestically-significant pulp and paper industries source their feedstock from tree plantations. A suite of regulatory (Indonesian Sustainable Production Forest Management Certification and Timber Legality Verification) and market instruments (forest certification) have been introduced to promote sustainability and legality of production from tree plantations, and some producers have also adopted other voluntary sustainability measures. This study investigates sustainability and legality compliance by actors in an Indonesian pulp and paper value chain as a case study of environmental innovation. Results are based on primary fieldwork along segments of the value chain, and analysis of audit reports and other publicly-available information. The value chain sources fibrewood from tree plantation concessions and pallet wood from a variety of suppliers. Audit reports suggest high levels of compliance with sustainability and legality requirements, but our research suggests that these reports might not reflect some area of poor performance and non-compliance. We identify weaknesses in the design of regulatory systems, and in auditing and monitoring processes, as the principal reasons for these deficiencies. Drawing on relevant theory and on practice elsewhere, we suggest that compliance and sustainability can be improved by addressing key areas of regulatory silence, by shifting auditing to be more performance-than paper-based, by strengthening independent monitoring from civil society, by increasing the frequency of witness auditing from the National Accreditation Board, and by fostering synergies between regulatory instruments and voluntary forest certification. These changes would improve the effectiveness of regulatory and voluntary instruments to promote cleaner production in Indonesian pulp and paper value chains.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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