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Disclosure and Continuity of Certification for RSPO P&C and RSPO ISH Standard

The RSPO Secretariat would like to announce an interim measure to ensure the continuity of certification for its members. This is in reference to the Certification Systems Document (2020) Clause 5.6.3 which requires the CB to check the management unit’s liability status with the RSPO Secretariat. From this clause, if there is a liability, the public announcement shall only proceed when the Concept Note has been submitted to the RSPO Secretariat.

Nevertheless, the Remediation and Compensation Procedure (RaCP), which was introduced in 2015, is currently seeing an increase in the number of cases where certified management units that previously disclosed having zero liability in 2014/2015 but had not verified it against a planting history or any other supplementary information.

This leads to situations where there could be potential liabilities. This is because the company and/or certification body (CB) may have added supply bases to the scope of certification during the Annual Surveillance Audits (or at any point along the certification journey). However, the RSPO Secretariat may not have been informed of the status of liability for these supply bases.

This presents a challenge when the public audit announcement requests for recertification are received by the RSPO Secretariat and creates a potential delay in the approval of the public announcement, which may therefore also affect certification status.

After consultation with the Standards Standing Committee (SSC), it has been decided that:

  • The Biodiversity High Conservation Value Working Group (BHCVWG) will develop a proposed protocol to address this issue within three months (by the end of September 2021) which will be submitted to the SSC for approval.
  • The Assurance Standing Committee (ASC) will provide an interim measure while the protocol is being developed and approved.

RSPO understands the difficulties that may be faced by the company to ensure all disclosures are updated at once. Therefore, the interim measures which are endorsed by the ASC are as follows:

Scenario

Description

Interim Measures

Scenario 1

Certified Unit of Certification (UoC) and no change in the scope of disclosure submitted to the RSPO Secretariat.

All information matches; e.g. name of supply bases, total land area hectarage.

Status quo. Can proceed with recertification.

Scenario 2

Certified Unit of Certification (UoC) and may have potential undeclared liability within the certified unit.

Discrepancy detected during documentation check of the Public Audit Announcement.  Inconsistencies between scope of audit, RaCP records and the Public Audit Announcement submitted for recertification.

Previously certified Unit of Certification (UoC) can proceed with recertification under the condition that the affected UoCs resolve the issue following the protocol that would be developed by the BHCVWG.

No NCs and OFIs should be raised but CBs shall register the information with the RSPO Secretariat and follow up on its status before the next audit.

Scenario 3

Certified Units of Certification (UoC) that have added areas/scope of audit (during ASA or RC) and there are inconsistencies in documentation; i.e. between scope of audit, RaCP records and the Public Audit Announcement submitted for recertification.

The additional areas are to be excluded from the scope of recertification until the RaCP process (if applicable) for the additional areas has been completed.

This update will apply to all previously certified management units as well as management units that are part of the company’s Time-Bound Plan. However, we recommend that RSPO members update their management unit’s information on a regular basis because it would help facilitate a more efficient checking model and make the recertification process easier for all existing certified members.

For any queries or further clarification, please contact certification@rspo.org