Vacancy in Rainforest Alliance: Consultant for Palm Oil

 Summary Information

·        Department: Oil Palm

·        Location(s): Indonesia

·        Commitment: As required to fulfil scope of work

·        Desired start date and duration: ASAP, duration estimated at 12 months 

·        Under direction of: Team Manager, Palm Oil


Consultancy Summary

About the Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance, a New York-based 501(c)3, and UTZ, an Amsterdam-based foundation, merged in 2018. Together, the new Rainforest Alliance is now a $70 million per year organization with offices in 17 countries (and growing) and over 5000 staff. The merged organization has two main offices—one in Amsterdam and one in New York City.

The Rainforest Alliance is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities.

We work towards making responsible business the new normal through our certification program, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work and advocacy.

Rainforest Alliance’s work in the palm sector ranges from landscape level projects to support smallholder farmers to value chain mapping and traceability, working with globally operating retailers and manufacturers.

With the number of Rainforest Alliance projects at landscape level in Indonesia growing and an increasing momentum to tackle deforestation assisted by value chain traceability, this long-term consultancy will support the Rainforest Alliance in advancing its holistic offering to the palm sector. The consultant will be placed in the Rainforest Alliance’s team in Indonesia to move forward the strategic development of the national level palm work and to liaise with the palm team globally to strengthen the connections between the global and regional value propositions. The circa 12-months assignment will cover different activities, including but not limited to supporting the development of Rainforest Alliance’s approach to working with palm smallholders; strengthening the value proposition for Rainforest Alliance’s Palm Industry Platform; and creating a framework for measuring impact.

Background Information

Rainforest Alliance has been working in the palm industry for more than a decade, combining its extensive experience in value chain traceability with landscape initiatives in the countries of palm production. Among others, Rainforest Alliance has developed RSPO PalmTrace to trace certified palm oil, co-developed the Universal Mill List, mapped complex palm value chains such as Unilever’s and worked on landscape approaches that bring together multiple stakeholders and improve the livelihoods of palm smallholders. The Rainforest Alliance brings together this expertise in the Palm Industry Platform.


At landscape level in Indonesia, Rainforest Alliance works in the Sintang region in Kalimantan. About half of Sintang’s tree cover is primary tropical rainforest, and about one third of this is still intact. From 2001 to 2017, the district lost about 21%, of which 79% was natural forest. Conversion to palm oil has been the leading cause of primary forest loss, with rubber a distant second.  

As part of the wider landscape initiative in Sintang, Rainforest Alliance’s efforts have centred in two of the fourteen sub-districts: Ketungau Hulu and Ketungau Tengah.  Among others so far, Rainforest Alliance has been:

·      conducting a baseline assessments of the ecological conditions, including High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS), socio-economic conditions, and training needs of smallholders;

·      strengthening the capacity of the district government through workshops;

·      building the knowledge, skills and capacities of independent smallholder farmers to incorporate sustainability principles in their farms, linking them to more beneficial, supportive global value chains;

·      coordinating with partner NGOs to support the implementation of   the District Action Plan for sustainable palm oil.

Working in close collaboration with governmental institutions, the private sector and other NGOs, Rainforest Alliance is now planning further activities in Sintang as well as other landscapes with the objective to reduce GHG emissions, deforestation and biodiversity threats while increasing restoration and boosting livelihoods for smallholders through collective landscape action. 

These activities include the strengthening of both landscape-scale investments and impact based on an integrated approach including activities to support smallholder farmers in the palm sector.  Furthermore, the Sintang landscape forms part of the Landscale initiative. Landscale seeks a common, holistic approach for measuring progress that enables better decision-making and collaboration at scale by enabling access to trusted, landscape-level sustainability insights that drive large-scale improvements.

Consultancy Objectives and Activities

The consultant will support the national and global level development of Rainforest Alliance’s value proposition to the palm sector, with specific focus on the approach at production level in Indonesia. This includes landscape level initiatives to support to palm smallholders and work to achieve traceability to production level. 

The consultant will be the main liaison partner in the Rainforest Alliance Indonesia team to advance the Palm Industry Platform (PIP) and strengthen the connections and synergies between global market activities and regional production level activities.  The PIP encompasses value chain traceability as well as strategies to create positive impact at production level.

He or she will need to develop a thorough understanding of past, ongoing and planned RA landscape initiatives as they pertain to the palm sector and feed them into the strategic development of the global level value proposition of the Palm Industry Platform.

The consultant will support on:

-          Assess learnings of selected RA landscape work and smallholder programmes relevant to palm, focused on Indonesia, and compare with learnings from external projects and programmes in palm landscapes.

-          Participate, organize and /or facilitate global workshops with relevant RA staff to identify priorities for Rainforest Alliance’s approach to smallholder focused field interventions in palm. 

-          Contribute to the advancement of the value proposition with a particular focus on strengthening the offering for landscape level initiatives and work with smallholders. Draft framework for smallholder interventions in landscape settings.

-          Support the strengthening of RA’s approach of traceability to plantation.

-          Identify priority palm landscapes for future work and map against RA's unique skillset.

-          Design a framework to systematically evaluate context-specific impacts of RA's interventions with palm smallholders at landscape level aligned with existing frameworks.

-          Develop a joint engagement strategy with partner organizations globally and in Indonesia.

-          Create a framework to measure impact in palm supply chains outside of certification (transparency, traceability improvements, business process improvements, grievance mechanisms).

-          Regularly engage with all relevant RA staff nationally and globally to advance the development the links between market and field in the Palm Industry Platform.

-          Support the development of communication materials and reports.

The work will require national travel in Indonesia and potentially globally.


The deliverables will be refined during the course of the assignments, but will include:

·       Report on the learnings of the landscape and smallholder work with a focus on palm

·       Framework for smallholder interventions in landscape settings, including linkages to the Palm Industry Platform.

·       Report on priority landscapes for future RA work.

·       Framework to systematically evaluate context-specific impacts of RA's interventions with palm smallholders at landscape level aligned with existing frameworks.

·       Engagement strategy with partner organizations in Indonesia.

·       Contributions to the value proposition for the Palm Industry Platforms.

General terms and conditions for Request for proposal

·       Proposals and/or any additional information received after the submission time and date are subject to rejection by The Rainforest Alliance. Incomplete proposals may be rejected by RA at its discretion.

·       The Rainforest Alliance reserves the right to request additional information at  any time during the procurement process.

·       RA is at liberty to make multiple or no selections as part of the proposal process. RA also reserves the right to cancel the procurement.

·       All proposal costs shall be borne by the applicant and will not be reimbursed by RA.

Selection Criteria

The applicant should possess the academic qualification and experience necessary to successfully execute the assignment. In addition, applicant should have:

·       proven in-depth understanding of landscape initiatives, especially palm production landscapes

·       proven extensive knowledge of the palm sector and supply chains

·       proven understanding of community forestry and / or smallholder farming

·       excellent interpersonal skills with ability to interact culturally, linguistically, and diplomatically with diverse internal and external individuals;

·       strategic and analytical thinker and experience in strategy development

·       proficiency verbally as well as in writing in Bahasa Indonesia and English

·       The applicant should cite past performance in doing similar assignments.


Proposal Process and Format

1.       Interested applicants are invited to submit an electronic copy of the proposal or any enquiries to Tri Padukan Purba and Ulrike Joras at the Rainforest Alliance using the following email address: and by 12th December 2021

2.       Proposals should not exceed 5 pages, font size 12, line spacing 1.5, including budget. All annexes must be separate to the proposal.

3.       All expressions of interest should include:

a.       A cover letter.

b.       Proposal: An explanation about the applicant with emphasis on the previous experience in related areas; understanding of the ToR and tasks to be accomplished, addressing how the candidate meets the expertise requirements.

c.       Profile of the applicant and curriculum vitae.

d.       Financial Proposal: The financial proposal should provide cost estimates including daily consultancy fees

e.       Contact details (email and phone number of at least 3 recent references).

Finalists will be notified of their selection by December 14th 2021