I’m not a conservationist, but I study political systems and society. I really struggled to consolidate some of the human issues (such as human trafficking for labour) inherent to palm oil production in Malaysia/Indonesia with the positive social impact of the industry.
Holding larger companies to account through any system, whether widely accepted by consumers or not, seems like a very positive step towards regulations seeping down to producers at the local level. Just as membership in the WTO forced a nation as huge as China to begin improving labour conditions, operating under rule of law (mostly) and adhering to product safety standards.
We shouldn’t underestimate the power of institutions (regulations), NGOs and initiatives like you have described here.
Thank you for this article!