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Private finance and governance of REDD+ projects in Indonesia

By Rowan Dixon


This thesis explores the role of private finance within REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) programmes in Indonesia. Since its debut in 2007 as a potential investment opportunity, enterprising and innovative private sector actors have moved to establish REDD+ projects within a voluntary carbon market, while the United Nations Convention on Climate Change continues negotiations to establish a comprehensive global mechanism. These profit-seeking actors have invested millions of dollars developing REDD+ projects within a rapidly evolving voluntary market that has emerged alongside the turmoil of global climate change negotiations. This dynamic market context brought about a wide variety of expressions of REDD+ in Indonesia, which this research seeks to untangle and illuminate. The thesis yields insights into the workings of market environmentalism, and complicates widespread notions of ‘private finance’ as a homogenous and predictable category of actor. In order to better understand the emergent REDD+ industry in Indonesia, and the role of private finance in shaping it, this research draws on the global value chain (GVC) framework to analyse processes of commodification and governance within REDD+ projects and ‘supply chains’. This approach identifies key private finance actors, and explores why they are involved across motivations for social, environmental and financial outcomes. It also reveals REDD+ projects as a produced commodity and provides insight into the multiple ways they are valued. The research thus highlights how private finance actors evaluate REDD+ commodities as they engage with them. These logics, and the profit-seeking rationale of private finance actors, are seen to have important governance implications in shaping the characteristics of REDD+ projects and the networks of actors involved in them. However, simultaneously, the malleable and selective characteristics of the REDD+ commodity itself shapes certain governing implications of private finance. This thesis contributes to debates concerning the commodification of nature within market environmentalism and the neoliberalisation of nature, providing insights into the nature and agency of private finance

Topics: Private Finance, Governance, REDD+, Indonesia, Market Environmentalism, Payments for Ecosystem Services, Global Value Chains, Financialisation, Epistemic Circulation, Value, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation
Publisher: Victoria University of Wellington
Year: 2016
OAI identifier:

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