RSPO Remediation and Compensation Procedure



The Remediation and Compensation Procedure (RaCP) was established to address land clearance and plantation development undertaken since November 2005 without prior High Conservation Value (HCV).  The procedure requires growers to first disclose any new land development that took place without conducting a HCV assessment, calculate environmental liabilities through a Land Use Change Analysis (LUCA), and to carry out onsite or offsite remediation for the affected sites or remediation with affected parties.  Compensation liabilities are determined through the use of a matrix, which combines vegetation coefficients as proxies for HCVs, the land clearance period, membership status and areas requiring environmental remediation.  The final compensation liability is expressed in hectares.

* NCLC: Non-compliant land clearance (strictly limited to land clearance by RSPO members since November 2005 without prior HCV assessments in reference to the RSPO Principles & Criteria)
** FCL: Final conservation liability


(updated: November 2017)

Figures are collated from companies with disclosed liabilities who have submitted LUCAs.



Land cover change from 2005 in areas developed without prior HCV assessment (by vegetation coefficient)



  • The bar graphs and the table summarize the land cover change during the development of land areas from November 2005 without prior HCV assessment.  
  • The bulk of non-compliant clearance involved degraded or highly degraded vegetation (e.g. open grassland and scrub) and existing agroforestry plantations
  • Less than 4% of land cleared without HCV assessments involved the loss of high-quality forest.
  • The figures shown represent total land clearance on land owned (including land areas acquired from RSPO non-members), and / or managed by RSPO members.  Further analyses, currently underway, will differentiate land clearance by RSPO members and non-members.


Why Remediate and Compensate?

With effect from November 2005, RSPO Principles & Criteria require members to conduct High HCV assessments of their holdings before any new land developments (i.e. plantings or infrastructure) can take place.  This is to ensure that land areas under the control of RSPO growers that contain or support HCVs are not cleared for development after this date.

The RSPO acknowledges that some non-compliant land clearance has occurred since November 2005 – with much of this due to a) unfamiliarity with RSPO Principles and Criteria, particularly HCV assessment requirements and procedures, or b) as a result of clearance by non-RSPO member growers (that were subsequently acquired by RSPO member companies). Rather than imposing immediate sanctions, including suspension or barring grower members from certification, RSPO developed the Remediation and Compensation Procedure (RaCP) in order to provide a mechanism for the restoration of cleared HCV areas and, if applicable, the compensation of lost conservation values.

A staged implementation of the RaCP took place between 9 May 2014 and 9 May 2015. Based on the lessons learned during this period, the RSPO’s Compensation Task Force reviewed progress and the RaCP was endorsed by the RSPO Board of Governors on 16th November 2015.

The RaCP applies globally for both certified and non-certified RSPO members. The procedure also applies in regions where RSPO is not yet active and to growers who may seek RSPO membership and/or apply for RSPO certification in the future. Growers who disclose non-compliant land clearance will need to complete the RaCP before obtaining RSPO certification.


Guiding Principles of RaCP

  1. Early cases of land clearance without HCV assessments carry less compensation liability than more recent cases. The procedure distinguishes between non-compliant clearance carried out over the following time periods:
    • From November 2005 to November 2007 (trial period for the implementation of RSPO Principles and Criteria - 2007);
    • From November 2007 to 31 December 2009 (first RSPO member was certified);
    • From 1 January 2010 to 9 May 2014 (RSPO’s New Planting Procedure was introduced) 
    • From 9 May 2014 (RaCP was introduced)
  1. Recognising that companies cannot be held responsible for clearance of land after 2005 in areas over which, at the time, the company had no management control, the RSPO encourages its members to practice due diligence when acquiring land for oil palm expansion. The RaCP therefore distinguishes between corporate and non-corporate land clearance, whereby growers are not required to compensate for land clearance that can be demonstrated to be non-corporate clearance. Corporate land clearance is any land cleared for plantations or facilities built directly and exclusively to support plantations and their activities (as demonstrated by local master plans and/or other official documentation). Non-corporate land clearance includes clearance for other purposes, including for government projects that involve public works or other public interest facilities, or by members of local communities acting individually to support their livelihoods and with no funding by any institution and/or organisation.
  2. Non-compliant land clearance by RSPO members after November 2007 carries higher compensation liabilities. Any land clearance after 9 May 2014 by RSPO members may result in expulsion.
  3. The RaCP provides guidance for members in meeting compensation liability, and encourages members to identify measures that maximise long-term, sustainable conservation outcomes. The full RaCP guidance and other related documents can be accessed here.


Key Requirements of RaCP:

A Compensation Panel will be assigned by the co-chairs of the Biodiversity and High Conservation Values Working Group (BHCVWG) to each case, after the disclosure of non-compliant land clearance. The panel will comprise of four members of the RSPO, preferably members of the BHCV WG, with balanced representation of different stakeholder categories and expertise appropriate to biodiversity conservation and social impacts, and one member of the RSPO secretariat. The panel could be supported by extra capacity as needed, including non-RSPO members.


Additional notes on the evaluation process
  • The LUC Analysis will be reviewed and verified by external GIS specialists.  
  • Compensation Plans will be evaluated by independent evaluators, who will support the Compensation Panel in providing advise on the acceptability of the plan.

Summary of Procedural Steps and Decisions:


Compensation Projects

The following programmes and projects have, to date, been presented to the RSPO BHCVWG have been recognised as possible examples for grower members who have compensation liabilities to consider for their compensation project.


Hutan Desa (Village Forests)  Hutan Harapan  Socio Bosque


Sustainable Commodities Compensation Mechanism  Katingan Mentaya Project


RaCP Tracker


RSPO Remediation and Compensation Procedures
Annex 1 History and Rationale of the RaCP
English (282 KB)
Annex 2 Disclosure of non-compliant land clearing
English (14 KB)
Disclosure Template for Areas Cleared without Prior HCV Assessment since November 2005 ISH Feb 2017
English (13 KB)
Final Guidance on Social HCVs Identification
English (678 KB)
Annex 3 LUCA guidance document
English (932 KB)
Annex 3a LUCA Reporting Template
English (111 KB)
Annex 4 LUCA Reporting Checklist Table
English (110 KB)
Annex 4a Land Cover Interpretation Examples
English (4 MB)
Annex 5 Reporting Template for LUCC
English (17 KB)
LUC Reporting Checklist Table
English (41 KB)
Annex 6 Project Criteria
English (506 KB)
Annex 7 Compensation Concept Note Format
English (48 KB)
Annex 8 Compensation Plan Template
English (909 KB)

Minimum requirements for using High Carbon Stock (HCS) forest areas for compensation purposes
English (519 KB)