The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) held its 15th annual General Assembly in Kota Kinabalu for all Ordinary Members to vote on Resolution GA15-6g for the Adoption of RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) for the Production of Sustainable Palm Oil (2018).

A dedicated multi-stakeholder P&C Review Task Force (TF) was established in April 2017 to undertake the review of the RSPO P&C 2013, and to ensure that the new standards aligned with RSPO Theory of Change (ToC). The TF comprised of balanced representation between growers, smallholders, NGOs and supply chain actors. The revision process met and exceeded best practices as required by ISEAL, and has been the most inclusive and comprehensive RSPO P&C revision to date, with two 60-day public consultations, 18 face-to-face events in 13 countries, 6 physical TF meetings, and almost 11,500 individual stakeholder comments received.

This newly adopted standard aims to strengthen social development, environmental protection, and economic prosperity across the sustainable palm oil value chain. Additionally, changes have been made to ensure the P&C is more systematic and clear, terms are more user-friendly, and there are comprehensive interconnections with the key pillars of RSPO’s Theory of Change (ToC): Prosperity, People and Planet.


The new standard comes into effect immediately, however RSPO grower members will have a transition period of one year from the date of adoption (15 November 2018), to implement the new standard. Furthermore, National Interpretations (NIs) of the new P&C 2018 will also be revised. RSPO Secretariat will update and revise all related guidelines and systems documents to align with the new standards.

The RSPO Assurance Department acknowledges that organisations may face challenges with implementing the new RSPO P&C 2018.  Below are some scenarios that could assist in the decision making process on the applicability of the new standards.





My current certified management unit is audited against the RSPO P&C 2013 and my next surveillance audit is February 2019. Which Standards should my management unit be certified against?

You can still be certified against the RSPO P&C 2013 but you can also choose to be audited against the RSPO P&C 2018.

I have just completed my Annual Surveillance Audit (ASA) in December 2018, so, my next audit will be against the new RSPO P&C 2018?

Yes! Your next ASA in December 2019 shall be against the RSPO P&C 2018.

I am a new grower company as of December 2018, and I want my management unit to be certified for RSPO, which standards should I be audited against?

RSPO recommends to use the P&C 2018, however you may still use the P&C 2013.

I have been an RSPO member since July 2018 and I want my management unit to be certified for RSPO, which standard should I be audited against?

RSPO recommends to use the P&C 2018, however you may still use the P&C 2013.

I want my management unit to be certified with RSPO P&C 2018 but at this moment the National Interpretation (NI) for this new P&C is still being developed. How can I ensure that I am following the correct rules and regulation of my host country?

You shall be certified under the RSPO P&C 2018 while the NI is being developed. Once the NI is ready, you can update your certificate against the new NI.

With the new RSPO P&C 2018, I have difficulties in meeting some of the requirements with my current capacity as a grower company. Therefore, I will not be able to meet my Time-Bound Plan (TBP) which is supposed to be 2019. How can I solve this?

The TBP can be revised but needs to be audited by the CB on its appropriateness.

I am a CB and I am auditing the certificate holder with the new RSPO P&C 2018, does the RSPO Certification System for Principles & Criteria: June 2017 still apply?

Yes! The RSPO system document 2017 is still applicable as this document sets out the requirements for the systems that shall be followed in the implementation of certification against the requirements of the RSPO P&C and/or its National Interpretations. However, RSPO Secretariat will revise the system document accordingly, to align with the new RSPO P&C 2018. If necessary, RSPO will also develop specific guidance related to the standard.

For an Outgrower, which standards shall I use if my audit is to be conducted on 16 November 2019?

RSPO P&C 2018. There are 3 options to consider for the audit:

  1. Include the mill in certification;

  2. Group certification; or

  3. Individual certification

For smallholders, what RSPO Standards should I use?

For Scheme Smallholders – P&C 2018

For Independent Smallholders –  use the ISH standard (under development)


For more information on certification and assurance of the new RSPO P&C 2018, please contact [email protected]


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