As a smallholder


Get certified

RSPO Certification helps independent smallholders increase yields, get exposure to international markets, improve their livelihoods, and reduce the risk of land conversion.

Certification is a symbol of credibility and proof of sustainable practice in operations.

Why is becoming certified important?

The palm oil supply chain, from oil palm plantations in tropical regions, to its end use as retail products distributed worldwide, is complex.

To ensure the credibility of the sustainability claim at the end of the supply chain, all organisations that take legal ownership and physically handle RSPO Certified Sustainable Oil Palm (CSPO) products need to be supply chain certified.

Transparency and credibility are assured through RSPO Principles & Criteria 2018 (P&C), 2020 RSPO Supply Chain Certification and the 2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard.


2019 RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard

The RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard (ISH) 2019 aims to increase the inclusion of smallholders by introducing a phased approach to implement sustainable practices across the three sustainability pillars – People, Planet and Prosperity, over a specified period of time.

Three phases approach

Key certification documents

Guidance Document and Template for Independent Smallholders


The Independent Smallholders’ journey to certification

As part of the certification process, there are several steps which the independent smallholder group must take to prepare for RSPO Certification. The diagram below explains the necessary steps to be taken.

Step 1

Group Formation

  • Smallholder Group Legislation.
  • Establish Internal Control System (ICS) and Group Manager Appointment.
  • Obtain relevant data of the group member’s plots (mapping, palm oil planting years, and/or land registration document).
  • Group members understand their commitment to RSPO Certification through the Smallholder Declaration.

Step 2

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) & Training Programme

  • Understand the value of developing and implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), management plans, and updating records of the farm activities.
  • Present substantial training components as required by the phased approach of the RSPO ISH Standard.
  • Read key documents towards the RSPO Certification Audit, such as: The RSPO ISH Standard; Auditor Checklist for Audits against RSPO ISH Standard; and System Certification of the RSPO Certification

Step 3

RSPO Membership Registration

  • Provide clear and sufficient information for the RSPO Membership application.
  • Read RSPO Membership Requirements. Understand and adhere to the RSPO membership rules, including annual membership fee payment.

Step 4

Internal Audit

  • The ICS committee needs to conduct the internal audit as a pre-audit assessment. The key documents as references being implemented. The internal audit includes:
  • Preparation by the group Stakeholder/Public Consultation Announcement
  • Opening meeting
  • Inspection of documents
  • Field work
  • Sampling
  • Closing meeting
  • Follow up on non-compliances
  • Continuous improvement

Step 5

Identify the Certification Body (CB) & Internal Audit

  • Once the internal audit is successful, smallholder groups arrange the audit against the RSPO ISH Standard. Find an accredited CB to conduct the audit here.
  • Once the CB is identified, the one-month public announcement is required prior to the audit date. The smallholder group is to provide the LUCA result which has been analysed by RSPO.

Step 6

RSPO ISH Standard Certification Audit

The Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) sold as RSPO Credits can be allocated in the PalmTrace Platform once the audit is successful. RSPO Credits are one of the benefits of RSPO certification. In order to maintain the benefit, the group must: Conduct annual audit (Surveillance Audit) Pay the annual membership fee Inform the RSPO of any changes such as to plots/ smallholders added to the group.

Disclaimer: The content on this site is provided to the public as an overview. This website is constantly being updated. We will make every attempt to keep this site up to date and correct all inaccuracies that are brought to our attention. You are encouraged to email our Smallholder Team to get the latest information.