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Steps Toward Green

Policy Responses to the Environmental Footprint of Commodity Agriculture in East and Southeast Asia



  • Tanja Havemann
  • Janjarang Kijtikhun
  • Uray Endang Kusumajaya
  • Samiksha Nair
  • Naomi Rosenthal


September 15, 2015

Short Summary

East and Southeast Asian countries have become some of the world’s foremost producers of commodity crops, but growth came at a high environmental cost. In this new book, EcoAgriculture Partners, The World Bank and Clarmondial recommend an Agricultural Green Growth framework for national and local governments to promote environmental stewardship in the production of key commodity goods.


New research across six countries in East and Southeast Asia brings some clarity to the hazy agricultural and environmental policy atmosphere of the region. This book, published by EcoAgriculture Partners, The World Bank and Clarmondial, spells out strategies for East and Southeast Asian policymakers looking to “green” the production of export commodity crops.

Region-wide issues with export commodities

Palm oil, rubber, coffee, tea, maize, and shrimp are important commodities sourced from East and Southeast Asia. These products propelled the region into global trade but also drove widespread destruction of coastlines, forests, wetlands and degradation of soil and water resources. Through the analysis of six important commodity landscapes in China, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines, the book highlights challenges for conservation and provides recommendations for political action.

Promoting environmental stewardship in agriculture

The book recommends an “Agricultural Green Growth” framework for policymakers to propel agricultural development in ways that sustain economies and local communities, and also secure the benefits of healthy ecosystems.The framework positions agriculture as a principal engine for human and economic development, encouraging the management of agriculture for the completion of conservation goals and the sustainability of food systems. Governments are advised to play a set of complementary roles within an Agricultural Green Growth agenda, where national and local actors can mobilize change through financing, partnerships and advocacy for environmental stewardship in commodity landscapes.

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