Bukit Barisan Selatan Sustainable Commodities Partnership

Partnering to protect Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park and support coffee farmers across the landscape.

The challenge

Forest conversion for agriculture is a major threat to the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP). At around 356,800 hectares, the park forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and provides essential ecosystem services and habitat for threatened species including the Sumatran rhino, elephant, and tiger. Nearly a third of the park’s original forest cover has been destroyed or converted for agricultural use over the past few decades.

Coffee is one of the key commodities driving this deforestation; nearly 26,000 tonnes of robusta beans come from within the park each year, totalling around 5% of Indonesia’s annual production. Largely grown by smallholders without ready access to inputs, training and finance, the low yields of ageing trees are triggering further illegal and uncontrolled conversion of forest to coffee plantations.

What’s more, sourcing coffee from the national park has put coffee traders and roasters at risk of unwittingly undermining their sustainability commitments and wider industry progress towards deforestation-free supply chains. Without a traceability system, the complex supply chain lacks transparency and many intermediaries continue to buy from unverified farmers.

At the current rate, a further 25,000 hectares of the national park is predicted to be lost to agricultural expansion by 2050. The resulting carbon emissions of over 3.5m metric tonnes would equal the whole European Union’s emissions for 2017.


The project

To reverse this trend, in 2018 the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) convened the Bukit Barisan Selatan Sustainable Commodities Partnership, with support from KfW. This pioneering multi-stakeholder partnership is based on a principle of collective responsibility with companies working in close collaboration with local and national government, farmers, and civil society to find new ways to protect the Bukit Barisan forest and improve livelihoods.

P4F is supporting the project’s two-pronged approach, which addresses both in-park production pressures and out-of-park demand incentives. Focusing on vulnerable boundary areas, the first of three interventions will involve setting up and enforcing new monitoring and verification tools to ensure coffee is grown legally in the first mile of the BBSNP – forming a buffer zone to prevent encroachment into the park. Following this, farmers will be offered incentives to produce sustainably – such as preferential access to finance and markets – and the team will run training on good agricultural practices and post-harvest processing for producers to maximise yields.

To address the out-of-park pressures, the third intervention will facilitate agreements between farmers and commodity buyers. Eight coffee companies with existing zero-deforestation commitments will commit to preferentially sourcing from legally verified smallholder farms adjacent to the park boundary.

Together, these steps will create a ‘commodity fence’ of smallholders securing the BBSNP forest, stopping deforestation and facilitating an industry-wide transition to a sustainable sourcing model.


Current impact

With P4F support and in collaboration with farmers and participating companies, the project team are developing the business plan to design the tools and approaches needed to improve the coffee supply chain. The project will work through partnerships with actors all along the chain, including buyers, such as Olam and Nestle, and farmer associations.

By 2023, more than 2,000 farming households will benefit from average income increases of up to 20%, producing 26,000 tonnes of verified deforestation-free robusta coffee. And with the buffer zone secured, around 30,000 hectares will be protected around Bukit Barisan Selatan, complementing other national park conservation and restoration efforts to protect the park’s entire 356,800 hectares.

Together, the three project steps complete a scalable business model for commodity sourcing through buffer zones in protected zones, with potential for replication in similar areas in Indonesia.


Header image

© Ulet Ifansasti/CIFOR


Lampung, Indonesia
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS); The BBS Sustainable Coffee Roundtable: Nestlé S.A.; Olam International; Neumann Kaffee Gruppe; ECOM; Louis Dreyfus Company; Association of Coffee Suppliers Lampung (ASKL); PT Mayora Indah; Sucden Coffee B.V.; Jacobs Douwe Egberts B.V.; Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS); Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Authority; Lampung Barat District Plantation Office; KfW
Commodity focus
Hectares under sustainable land use
353,000 (by 2023)
Private investment mobilised
£4,140,000 (by 2023)