How to be RSPO Certified
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative on sustainable palm oil. Members of RSPO, and participants in its activities come from many different backgrounds, including plantation companies, manufacturers and retailers of palm oil products, environmental NGOs and social NGOs and from many countries that produce or use palm oil. The principal objective of RSPO is “to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil through co-operation within the supply chain and open dialogue between its stakeholders”.
The RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) for Sustainable Palm Oil Production
The P&C were adopted in November 2005, pilot implemented for two years, and released for use from November 2007. After five years of implementation, the P&C was reviewed by the RSPO P&C Review Taskforce and Steering Group in accordance to RSPO P&C Review Process, endorsed by the Executive Board on February 27, 2013 and subsequently accepted at the Extraordinary General Assembly by the RSPO members on April 25th 2013. The P&C are generic. Because countries differ in their laws for the same criteria, such as minimum wages for workers for example, and there are cultural and other differences, the P&C are further adapted for use by each country through National Interpretation (NI). The National Interpretations of the P&C are available for the larger producer nations while those for smaller producr countries continue to be developed. Where, for various reasons, a National Interpretation is not available an RSPO grower may seek a local interpretion for their production. The methodology to develop National and Local Interpretation are described in the RSPO Certification Systems document.
RSPO Certification Systems
No public claims relating to compliance with the RSPO principles and criteria can be made without third party verification and certification. The third party will be a RSPO approved independent certification body. Growers will be assessed for certification once every five years, and if certified, will be annually assessed for continued compliance. After five years the main assessment will be repeated. Details are provided in the RSPO Certification Systems document. The objective of these detailed requirements is to ensure that RSPO assessments are carried out with objectivity and consistency, together with the required levels of technical rigour and stakeholder credibility. RSPO producer members interested to be RSPO certified as sustainable palm oil producers need to engage a RSPO approved certification body for such certification.
The RSPO certification of sustainable palm oil production will be carried out by certification bodies approved against guidelines stated in the RSPO Certification System as extracted below:
"RSPO uses a mechanism for approving certification bodies that is based on accreditation against ISO Guide 65 or ISO Guide 66, where the generic accreditation is also supplemented by a set of specific RSPO certification process requirements.
The accreditation authority itself must be operating in accordance with the requirements of ISO 17011. This must be demonstrated either as a signatory to the appropriate International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) or through full membership of the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL).
RSPO have supplemented the ISO Guide 65 or ISO Guide 66 requirements with a set of specific certification process requirements. These additional requirements for certification against the RSPO Criteria and the RSPO supply chain standard must be incorporated within the certification body's accredited systems.
Certificates of compliance with the RSPO Criteria cannot be issued on the basis of assessments performed by certification bodies that are not approved by RSPO.
The certification body must demonstrate to RSPO that their accredited systems include all of the certification process requirements. Implementation of these requirements will be reviewed by RSPO annually. Organisations that are certified by RSPO approved certification bodies will be allowed to make public claims relating to their compliance."
RSPO Certification assessments need to be initiated by palm oil pro ducers, by contacting one of the approved Certification Bodies. The cost of audits will be borne by the producer who seeks RSPO certification.
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