Working Groups

PNG Smallholders Working Group

The PNG NIWG has for some time been developing a guidance document for smallholder oil palm growers in PNG.  The PNG NIWG believes that the smallholder reality in PNG does not fit well within the RSPO’s binary characterisation of smallholders into ‘scheme’ or ‘independent’ groupings. The PNG situation falls somewhere in between these two generic modalities. The PNG NIWG developed the concept of PNG ‘Associated’ smallholders, to be incorporated into the PNG NI, as a way forward.  The PNG NIWG has developed a definition and guidance for PNG Associated smallholders, which has now been aligned with the approved generic guidance & definitions for ‘scheme’ and ‘independent’ smallholders.  The PNG NIWG would like to release its latest draft guidance (and definition) for PNG Associated smallholders for a 60-day public consultation period.  Feedback from the public consultation would be used to formulate a final document that we would wish to submit to the RSPO EB for its approval to be used for the RSPO certification of PNG smallholders.

Ian Orrell
Facilitator, PNG RSPO National Interpretation Working Group
Email: or
Fax: +675 3215531
Postal: P.O. Box 841,
Port Moresby, NCD,
Papua New Guinea

Attachment Size
PNG Guidance for Associated smallholders - consultation draft (Eng).pdf 259.4 KB
PNG Guidance for Associated smallholders - consultation draft (Tok Pisin).pdf 222.13 KB

GreenHouse Gas Working Group 2 (GHG WG2)

RSPO Greenhouse Gas Working Group 2

History of RSPO and discussions on Greenhouse Gases

Understanding and managing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is an issue of global importance and the palm oil industry is no exception. Palm oil has been the focus of particular attention because of the potential emissions of GHGs from land-use change for new plantations, as well as emissions from existing plantations and processing and production facilities.

The RSPO Principles and Criteria include a general requirement to address GHG emissions (5.6), but there has been concern and some criticism, particularly from NGOs and consumers, about the lack of detailed requirements for managing and reducing GHG emissions.

In response to this concern, in November 2008, the RSPO Executive Board established a Greenhouse Gas Working Group (GHG WG1). The GHG WG1 was given the mandate to review all stages of the palm oil supply chain, with an emphasis on understanding GHG emissions from the development of new plantations which is widely considered to be the greatest source of GHG emissions. The expected outputs were a literature review and analysis of the dimensions of GHG emissions from the different stages in palm oil production and, based on this, recommendations for changes to the RSPO P&C together with guidance to RSPO members on best management practices for reducing GHG emissions from oil palm production.

The GHG WG1 agreed on many issues, specifically support for voluntary actions to reduce emissions. However, the GHG WG1 was not able to reach consensus on the dimensions of GHG emissions, particularly those related to the establishment of new plantations and land-use change. The GHG WG1 did, however, recommend that RSPO develop a framework for reducing GHG emissions, which takes into account all relevant sources of GHG emissions.


The second greenhouse gas working group (GHG WG2) was convened at the end of 2009 to review the findings of the GHG-WG1 and to establish a process so that all RSPO members can reduce GHG emissions via a voluntary mechanism consistent with the existing RSPO P&C. The process will be based on a framework approach where emission reductions are to be measured against a reference case for operational corporate units and actions are to be taken on a voluntary basis subject with the intent of achieving continuous improvement over time. The GHG WG2 will also address issues of public policy and business strategies, in order to develop a process that will lead to meaningful and verifiable reductions in GHG emissions from the palm oil supply chain.

The GHG WG2 is composed of 11 members of the RSPO Executive Board (EB) and 20 non-RSPO EB members, with representation from each of the different membership sectors. The group is led by two co-chairs: Jeremy Goon (MPOA) and Tim Killeen (Conservation International), and is facilitated by Ruth Nussbaum (Proforest) and Pavithra Ramani (Proforest).

The GHG WG2 had its first meeting in February 2010 where the work of the group was agreed and organized into six Workstreams, each of which will contribute to the overall objectives of the group. The six different workstreams will focus on the following GHG components:

Workstream #1: Operational emissions

This workstream is producing a harmonized GHG calculating framework which RSPO members can use to measure, monitor and report GHGs within their operations. This framework will consist of boundaries, toolkits, definitions, default values, in addition to identifying voluntary actions on GHG management. The lead author of this workstream is Dr Cecile Bessou from CIRAD who is working with experts in this field from RSPO member organisations including producers, manufacturers and end users.

Workstream #2: Peatland working group (PLWG)

This workstream was set up in response to a motion agreed at RT7. It is focusing on emissions related to operational management of peat with objectives which include (1) to identify environmental and social impacts related to oil palm plantations on peat; (2) to identify best practices for managing oil palm plantations on peat soils; (3) to identify practical methodologies for assessing and monitoring carbon stocks and key GHG emissions from oil palm plantations on peat soils; (4) to evaluate options and constraints for the rehabilitation of degraded peatlands. The co-chairs of this workstream are Rosediana Suharto (IPOC) and Faizal Parish (Global Environmental Centre).

Workstream #3: Scientific panel

The scientific panel, consisting of leading scientists from several countries with expertise covering ecosystem ecology, forest science, soil science and geography, is undertaking a comprehensive review of existing information about land use and land use change and its impact on GHGs including identifying gaps and areas of uncertainty in the current body of information. This workstream will be responsible for several outputs, which include (1) an analysis of GHG fluxes under different land covers and management systems for mineral and peat soils; (2) synthesis of carbon stock of oil palm under different ages, variety, soil and management systems; (3) developing a practical tool for calculating carbon stock in oil palm trees in plantations. The lead author of this workstream is Dr Fahmuddin Agus (IAARD, GAPKI).

Workstream #4: Policy panel

The purpose of this panel of experts will be to focus on the legal, institutional and policy barriers to implementing strategies to reduce GHG emissions – particularly those related to land-use change. The GHG WG2 are in the process of finalizing the scope of policy issues that should be addressed by the panel.

Workstream #5: Emissions from other RSPO members

This workstream is focusing on the activities being undertaken by RSPO membership categories other than producers and processors, including groups such as financial institutions and NGOs to reduce and manage their emissions.

Workstream #6: Engagement with RSPO members

This workstream is collecting information on the voluntary actions which RSPO members are already planning or implementing to better understand and manage GHGs from production and processing. The data collected for this workstream will feed into workstream #1. This workstream hopes to capture information about best management practices that are currently being employed by producers and processors to address GHG emissions.

The GHG WG2 plans to complete its work within two years, providing a report on the first year at RSPO RT8 and presenting the final outputs at RSPO RT9.

RSPO and regulatory requirements on GHG emissions for biofuels

One of the many different uses of palm oil is as biodiesel. In some countries, particularly within the EU, there are specific legal requirements about GHG emissions from feedstocks used to manufacture biofuels. In order to meet these requirements, RSPO is in the process of developing a voluntary add-on which can be used in conjunction with the RSPO P&C by companies wishing to demonstrate compliance with the biofuels regulations


The RSPO GHG WG2 has received financial support from (1) RSPO core funds; (2) UK government and (3) CIRAD.

RSPO GHG WG2 - Expected Outputs
The finalized GHG framework, once agreed by the GHG WG2 participants, will incorporate the information on key GHG dimensions produced by the different workstreams. This framework will assist plantation and mill management to:

(1) Quantify their GHG emissions from oil palm production

(2) Support voluntary actions towards reducing GHG emissions, by:

  • Identifying GHG hotspots
  • Supporting decision-making processes
  • Identifying best management practices
  • Monitoring progress

(3) Allow for consistent communication on GHG emissions for a variety of purposes, that include:

  • Business to business communication
  • Regulatory requirement purposes (eg. EU Renewable Energy Directive)

Based on the framework the GHG WG2 will make recommendations to RSPO about how the framework should be used in conjunction with the RSPO P&C. Any changes to the P&C will only be made after field testing and further discussion of the practical impacts of these proposals.


Click on any of the documents below to get more information on this  work group. The most recent update is uppermost in the list of downloadable documents.

Attachment Size
TORs for RSPO GHG WG2 (2Mar2010).pdf 123.94 KB
RSPO GHG WG2 Update Doc 1 (March 2010).pdf 230.28 KB
RSPO GHG WG2 Update Doc 2 (April 2010).pdf 442.28 KB
RSPO GHG WG2 Update Doc 3 (June 2010).pdf 1.43 MB
RSPO GHG WG2 Update Doc 4 (Nov 2010).pdf 2.82 MB
RSPO GHG WG2 Update Doc 5 (Dec 2010).pdf 313.98 KB
RSPO GHG WG2 Update Doc 6 (May 2011).pdf 229.73 KB
Final Recommendations to EB RSPO GHG WG2.pdf 397.09 KB

High Conservation Value - RSPO Indonesia Working Group (HCV-RIWG)


The HCV-RSPO Indonesia Working Group was formed on the 18th of July 2008 initiated by RSPO, INA-NIWG and HCV Consortium. The working group’s main objective is to develop guidance for managing and monitoring HCV areas in oil palm plantation and guidance for HCV compensation mechanism on oil palm plantation land clearing in HCV identified areas within November 2005 to November 2007.


Chairman: Daud Dharsono (GAPKI)
Vice Chairman: Purwo Susanto (WWF Indonesia)
Secretary: Ismu Zulfikar (PT SMART)
Expert Coordinator: Darmawan Liswanto (FFI)
Team Leader HCV Management and Monitoring Guidance: Darmawan Liswanto (FFI)
Team Leader HCV Compensation Mechanism Guidance: Dwi Asmono (Sampoerna Agro)

  1. HCV Management and Monitoring Guidance for Oil Palm Plantation
  2. HCV Compensation Mechanism Guidance for oil palm plantation land clearing in HCV identified areas within November 2005 to November 2007 period

Address: BII Plaza Tower II 10th floor Jl. MH. Thamrin No. 51 Kav. 22 Jakarta 10350 Indonesia
Telephone: +6221-3181388 ext. 1184
Fax. +6221-31990309

Indonesia Smallholders Working Group

Smallholders Task Force - Indonesia


Given that smallholders contribute significantly to the global production of palm oil whereas in Indonesia alone, they account of about 35% of the national output, it is vital that their needs are given due consideration by RSPO when implementing the RSPO P&C and certification protocol. The aim is to ensure that smallholders are active participants in the production of sustainable palm oil. Towards this end, the 2nd General Assembly in 2005 established a Smallholder Task Force (STF) to address smallholder concerns. Among the proposed activities, the STF is to conduct trials on the application of the P&C with smallholders in order to test the suitability of the P&C and verification procedures and to suggest modifications to better suit smallholders' interests, without compromising the goals of the RSPO.

As the STF has a wide mandate covering smallholders in all producing countries, an exploratory meeting with key RSPO members and stakeholders was held by RSPO Liaison Office in Jakarta on 18 January 2007 for determining the best approach in co-ordinating and expediting the Smallholders Task Force (STF) related activities specifically for Indonesia. The primary objective of the meeting was to review the current efforts being undertaken by various players and to discuss ways of improving cooperation among the key organizations in smallholder engagement with particular emphasis of making the RSPO P&C relevant and applicable to smallholders.

A plan has been set in motion for the commencement of the working group on smallholders composed of Indonesian RSPO members and stakeholders to deliberate, develop, test and promote a smallholder P&C for Indonesia, which is vital for smallholder's becoming sustainable palm oil producers. The working group will become part of National Interpretation of RSPO P&C with strong emphasis on smallholders' interests and situations.

The working group, named as STF-Indonesia, comprises of stakeholders from various interest and who have close engagement with smallholders as follows:

  • Government - Ministry of Agriculture, IPOC
  • NGOs - Sawit Watch, WWF-Indonesia
  • Growers - GAPKI and its members (nucleus companies)
  • Smallholders' representatives - APKASINDO, ASPEKPIR, SPKS

Dr. Asril Darussamin of IPOC and Mr. Suhandri of WWF-Indonesia were elected Chairman and Vice-chairman of the working group, respectively, and Mr. Norman Jiwan of Sawit Watch as secretary. RILO serves as facilitator for the working group.

The preliminary terms of reference for the working group are:

  • to produce draft of national interpretation of RSPO P&C and the accompanying Indicator & Guidance for smallholders - scheme and independent smallholders. This is equivalent with the national interpretation process of RSPO P&C in Indonesia currently developed by INA-NIWG, but scaled and modified to the smallholders' needs and situations in Indonesia while maintaining verifiable indicators for auditing and eventual certifications against RSPO P&C. The document will also form an integral part of International Smallholders Task Force documents.
  • to conduct public consultation on developed draft of NI of RSPO P&C for smallholders
  • to conduct pilot testing for the application of developed criteria in smallholders' plantation
  • to produce final National Interpretation document of RSPO P&C and accompanying Indicator & Guidance for smallholders in Indonesia (based on public consultation and pilot phase results) for further endorsement by RSPO Executive Board..

Objectives of the formation of working group are:

  • Provide an effective, practical and measurable RSPO P&C and accompanying Indicator & Guidance, suitable to the smallholders' interests and situations as well as laws & regulations in Indonesia, in order to enable wider implementation among oil palm smallholders in Indonesia;
  • Provide references and basic guidance for audit verification;
  • Opportunity to broadly communicate on RSPO P&C among oil palm smallholders, plantation companies and concerned stakeholders.
4th Draft Generic Guidance on Scheme Smallholder 158 KB, PDF
DG letter_281208 1074 KB, PDF
INA NI untuk petani kemitraan_harmonised Mei 2009 324 KB, PDF
INA NI_Petani Kemitraan_Oktober2009_ver01_ID 296 KB, PDF
INA NI_Scheme smallholder_Harmonised May 2009_English 236 KB, PDF
INA-NI-Smallholder-2nd-Draft-Aug2009-English-response 926 KB, PDF
INA-NI_Scheme Smallholder_October2009_ver01_EN 304 KB, PDF
IPOC comments on NI on Smallholders 42 KB, PDF
Pembahasan Pokja atas Tanggapan Konsultasi Publik Draft 3 Jakarta Ibis 13 November 2007 116 KB, PDF
STF_Indonesia_Smallholder P&C_English_Final_Nov07 279 KB, PDF

Attachment Size
INA NI, P&K Petani Kemitraan.pdf 297.33 KB
INA-NI, P&C Independent Smallhoder.pdf 647.06 KB
INA-NI, P&K Petani Swadaya.pdf 431.7 KB
INA-NI,P&C Scheme Smallholder.pdf 308.66 KB

Malaysia Smallholders Working Group

MY-NI-for-Smallholders 338 KB, PDF
RSPO MYNIWG v5 Updated 29 May for Scheme Smallholders 271 KB, PDF

Biodiversity Conservation - Updates

Minutes of BTC Meetings

Minutes of the BTC meetings are available in English can be downloaded below:

Attachment Size
1st BTC Meeting on 15th April, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 76.01 KB
2nd BTC Meeting on 13th June, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia 103.45 KB
3rd BTC Meeting on 29th Sept, 2009 by teleconference 58.59 KB
4th BTC Meeting on 9th Feb 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 197.09 KB
12th BHCV Meeting on 6th June 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 158.46 KB
13rd BHCV Meeting on 22nd July 2011, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 3.02 MB
14th BHCV WG Meeting on 4th October 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia.pdf 1.13 MB
1st Compensation Task Force (CTF) Meeting on 22nd Aug 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1.43 MB

Task Group on RED

Attachment Size
RSPO Additional Guidance -REDCompliance.pdf 60.72 KB