JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 17 : MULTIFUNCTIONAL OIL PALM PLANTATIONS AS AN ANSWER TO THE ISSUE OF SUSTAINABILITY
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Oil palm plantations are considered as an economic sector that needs to be questioned about its sustainability. Its due to the widespread issue of environmental damage to human rights violations associated with oil palm plantations. This point of view of oil palm plantations is very ironic and contradicts the nature/function of plantations and agriculture as a a link between the physical natural environment and human life on planet Earth.
In concept of multifunction of agriculture, oil palm plantations as a part of agricultural sector also four main function, namely economy fuction (white function), socio-cultural function (yellow function/services), the function of water conservation (blue services), and the function of preserving natural resources (green function). In a shorter, oil palm plantation has economic, social and environmental functions, that are not owned by other sectors outside agriculture.
During the process of cultivating oil palms reaching the age of 25 years, people across generations have enjoyed the benefits of the multifunctional oil palm plantations. Even the multifunctionality of oil palm plantations is not only enjoyed by the people of Indonesia, but also enjoyed by the world community both directly and indirectly involved in the palm oil industry.
Meanwhile, the principle of sustainable development with the principle of sustainability also has dimensions/main pillars namely economy (profit), social (people), and environment (planet). If examined, the pillars in the aspect of sustainability also reflect multifunctionality in agriculture. This shows that the agriculture/plantation sector, including oil palm plantations, is a sector that contributes to sustainable development and is proven to be more sustainable compared to other sectors. Therefore, the problem of sustainability in oil palm plantations (sustainability vs unsustainability) no more questions. However, things that need to be considered related to the issue of sustainability in oil palm plantations are the issue of degree of sustainability.
With RSPO and ISPO (as well as MSPO/Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil), sustainability certification making palm oil the only vegetable oil product even the world’s agricultural products have been tested to fulfill sustainability indicators. However, the sustainability certification also has several lacknes such as being partial, confusing indicators of sustainability with sustainability so that the principle of degree of sustainability is not accommodated and confusing the domain of government with the company.
Therefore, to make the certificate of sustainability as a place to creates oil palm plantations more sustainable (not just a label) and more multifunction agriculture that can be enjoyed across generations, it is necessary to improve principles, indicators and measurement methods that integrates the principles of sustainability and multifunctionality of plantations/agriculture and by using a comprehensive and holistic approach.