While many look to sustainability certifications as a panacea for the issues surrounding oil palm plantations, a new study cautions that these programs may not be enough to prevent negative impacts on local communities. Following on previous research into the effects of oil palm development on the livelihoods and environmental well-being of nearby villages in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, an international team of researchers has assessed the socioeconomic impacts of oil palm development on 36,311 villages across Indonesia between 2000 and 2018. The researchers found that the impacts of sustainability certifications varied widely — with both positive and negative impacts — depending on where a particular plantation is located. The researchers used data from the national statistics agency’s Potensi Desa (PODES) survey that’s carried out roughly every three years. The survey assesses each village area on several parameters, including number of households with access to electricity and cooking fuels, distance to health care and school facilities, and access to financial development opportunities. Other social parameters include number of conflicts among communities and suicide rates, while environmental criteria include water and air pollution. In their previous research, the authors found that, on average, villages with new oil palm plantations showed slower growth in most well-being factors over all time scales than villages without. In the wake of oil palm plantation development, villages that had already transitioned to a market economy — which typically correlates with higher level of previous forest degradation — saw an increase in basic and financial…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer