Welcome to AskRSPO

Find the most commonly asked questions about RSPO.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Please get in touch with us below and we'll get back to you soon.


What you need to know about the HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme

The High Conservation Value (HCV) Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) was created by the HCV Resource Network with support from various stakeholders and aims to improve the consistency and quality of the work of HCV assessors around the world. In October 2014, the HCV ALS was launched to replace the RSPO HCV assessor registration/approval system.

“The ALS is an important element in the RSPO’s New Planting Procedure (NPP) requirements,” according to Oi Soo Chin, RSPO’s Biodiversity and Conservation Manager. “It will help to improve the quality of the work of HCV assessors and the consistency of implementation of the HCV approach

Here are some insights into the new HCV ALS.

What are High Conservation Values (HCV)?

High Conservation Values (HCVs) are biological, ecological, social or cultural values which are considered outstandingly significant or critically important, at the national, regional or global level.  The HCV approach was originally developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to help define forest areas of outstanding and critical importance for use in forest management certification.

The HCV approach has been widely used for protecting the most important environmental and social values in production landscapes (e.g. forestry and agriculture).

Given this widespread use, various roundtables, such as RSPO, collaborate with the HCV Resource Network (HCVRN), a network of organisations, companies and experts with a shared interest in seeing the HCV approach used effectively, to harmonize use of the approach.

The RSPO is committed to the conservation of primary forests and HCVs. Criteria 5.2 and 7.3 in the RSPO Principles & Criteria require plantation management units to identify, manage and monitor HCVs.

Why was the new Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS) introduced?

Before the ALS was launched, RSPO had a system to approved HCV assessors based on their qualifications and experience. This system did not have a formal mechanism for monitoring assessor performance or evaluating HCV assessment report quality. To address this and to help improve the overall quality of the work of HCV assessors, the HCVRN created the HCV Assessor Licensing Scheme (ALS).

The (ALS) was created by the HCVRN with support from RSPO and replaced the RSPO-approved HCV assessors system in October 2014.

What is the purpose of HCV ALS then?

The three primary objectives of ALS are to improve the quality of the work of HCV assessor’s through:

  • the provision of guidance, tools and templates for assessors to use
  • by licensing competent HCV assessors
  • through the on-going monitoring of assessor performance.

Who should apply?

The ALS was created to license professionals that wish to carry out HCV assessments as lead assessors. It is not intended for HCV assessment team members/discipline specialists, unless they wish to lead HCV assessments and believe they are ready to do so in line with the HCV Assessment Manual. The ALS is working on developing a registration service for discipline specialists/team leaders that do not wish to lead HCV assessments.

How will the ALS affect active RSPO-registered assessors?

The identification of HCVs is a requirement of RSPO’s New Planting Procedures (NPP). Where RSPO formerly required an RSPO-approved HCV assessor for this; it will now require an ALS licensed assessor.

For more information on how to apply and to learn more about the ALS please visit www.hcvnetwork.org/als