Coalition for Sustainable Livelihoods

Improving smallholder productivity and sustainable development in Indonesia


The Coalition for Sustainable Livelihoods (CSL) is an emerging initiative focused on collective action to drive economic development, reduce poverty and improve natural resource management in the Indonesian provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh.

The Coalition for Sustainable Livelihoods (CSL) launched in September 2018 during a collaborative planning workshop in Medan, Indonesia, that aimed to gather stakeholder input for shaping and building the initiative. The goal: to capture the value of diverse collaboration through a sustainable landscape approach in contributing to sustainable livelihoods and improved natural resources management. More than 130 representatives from across government, private sector, financial institutions and civil society joined the Coalition's initial supporters, which have grown to include Barry Callebaut, Conservation International (CI), Danone, Earthworm Foundation (formerly The Forest Trust), The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), The Livelihoods Fund, Mars Wrigley, Mondelēz International, PepsiCo, Unilever and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). By aligning public and private sector efforts, the CSL aims to help advance government programs and policies as well as contribute to supply chain sustainability for companies operating in and purchasing products from North Sumatra and Aceh.

© Conservation International/photo by Tory Read

Supporting a sustainable landscape approach

The message from that first workshop was clear. The Coalition should focus on collaboratively engaging government, private sector and civil society stakeholders across the landscapes of North Sumatra and Aceh to drive action by:

  • Coordinating, aligning and building upon current initiatives, programs and policies to support a sustainable landscape approach for production across key commodities, such as palm oil, cocoa, coffee, rubber, timber and others;
  • Supporting government programs such as Indonesia’s Sustainable Palm Oil Platform (known locally as FoKSBI), the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil, and the Green Aceh Initiative; and
  • Investing in strengthening existing and developing integrated landscape initiatives in districts where government, private sector and civil society agree to work together towards jointly defined sustainable development outcomes with communities and farmers that feed into global supply chains.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Why North Sumatra + Aceh?

Production of crops — including cocoa, coffee, oil palm and others — supports thousands of smallholder farmers and helps drive the regional economies in North Sumatra and Aceh. These smallholders and nearby communities are often dependent on healthy forests and natural resources that provide fresh water, reduce risks of floods and landslides, and buffer against the impacts of climate change. There are numerous government, private sector and civil society initiatives aiming to advance economic, social and environmental sustainability, but many of these efforts are not aligned to achieve the desired scale or impacts.

By aligning landscape and supply chain efforts with existing national and regional platforms and policies, the Coalition aims to create a critically needed pathway to scale sustainable production on the ground while also generating lasting social, economic and environmental impacts in North Sumatra and Aceh. This will bring tangible gains for smallholder producers, improve their access to markets seeking sustainable products and help generate additional investments — ultimately creating sustainable commodity value chains that ensure business and livelihood opportunities for the people of North Sumatra and Aceh.


Join Us

The Coalition is just getting started. We invite government representatives, producers, private sector, finance institutions, civil society and regional and international NGOs to join us in this journey for collective action for sustainable development.


Additional Information




North Sumatra:

Fitri Hasibuan


John Buchanan

Materials and Additional Information:

Katie Thomason