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Certification Bodies Get Aligned on RSPO P&C

RSPO recently hosted a Certification Body (CB) workshop with a face-to-face consultation on the RSPO draft Principles & Criteria (P&C). Held in Padang, West Sumatra on 16-18 July, the consultation was attended by 30 representatives from RSPO-accredited certification bodies (CBs) from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Africa, as well as representatives from Accreditation Services International (ASI), who discussed the potential key changes to the P&C and the auditability of the proposed draft.

Three-day workshop aimed to clarify RSPO standards for Certification Bodies

The three-day workshop aimed to align RSPO CBs’ interpretation and understanding of RSPO standards, based on current issues relating to certification, and the issues CBs are facing ‘on the ground’. These include the technical aspects of RSPO’s standards, such as new planting procedure (NPP) tools for smallholders, auditor checklists for the High Conservation Value (HCV) draft, data integrity, RSPO Certification System Document 2017, the roles of auditors and lead auditors, Hak Guna Usaha (HGU) issues, complaints-related matters, and more. A first-of-its-kind panel discussion was moderated by RSPO Assurance Director Salahudin Yaacob on topics relating to audits, such as the potential conflict of interest between CBs and clients and addressing social audits.

Consultation promoted more interaction and better understanding of RSPO standards

Further alignment was also made through the RSPO Interpretation Forum (RIF) session, where CBs discussed the issues that were highlighted to RSPO via the specific RIF website. Head of Assurance at RSPO Secretariat Aminah Ang said, “The RIF session received such a positive response from the last CB workshop in Malaysia, we decided to arrange it for the workshop in Padang. By doing so, we hope that these RIF sessions will greatly assist CBs in making audit decisions on issues posted to RIF.”

RSPO Assurance Manager Wan Mutaqdir expressed his excitement at seeing more interaction and better understanding of RSPO’s standards amongst the group. “We are happy to see that trust has been nurtured among our accredited CBs during the workshop. It leads to more openness and transparency during discussions on auditing matters. It also increases the dialogue amongst the CBs themselves to ensure their auditing standards remain high.”

For more information on upcoming CB workshops, please click here.