Kuala Lumpur, 14 January 2015 – RSPO welcomes the decision of Accreditation Services International (ASI) to suspend two Certification Bodies (CBs) found to be in violation of RSPO’s certification system requirement, following compliance audits that began in 2015. Control Union (Malaysia) SDN BHD and PT Mutuagung Lestari conducted the assessments without being in full compliance with RSPO certification requirements while assessing the RSPO’s criteria with regard to labour rights and health and safety of plantation workers.
The investigations were initiated by RSPO in 2015 after accusation of non-compliance, including forced labour and withholding of wages, on FELDA units in Malaysia were brought to RSPO’s attention by third parties. The investigations included short-notice on-site visits and review of documents and records, as well as interviews with foreign and domestic workers, company personnel, smallholders and subcontractors. Following field visits, ASI requested that all non-conformities be addressed and closed by 17 December 2015.
However, from the information provided by the two CBs in December, ASI concluded that there was insufficient evidence to excuse CBs and decided to suspend these CBs. During the suspension period of a maximum of six months, the CBs may not sign new certification agreements, conduct certification assessments or issue new certificates under the RSPO scheme. ASI will work with CBs to bring them back in line with accreditation requirements.
The decision demonstrates that RSPO is continuously working on improving accountability and compliance with its certification procedures. RSPO highly values a dialogue with all stakeholders who report cases of infringement of RSPO Principles & Criteria to make sure that the appropriate response can be taken. RSPO relies on ASI to monitor the correct implementation of assessments and ensure that Certification Bodies are operating according to the standard.
All RSPO Certification Bodies are accredited by ASI, which provides independent third-party accreditation to the RSPO’s certification program and conducts regular assessments of Certification Bodies, including both office and field verifications. ASI is a Full Member of the ISEAL Alliance and operates according to best practice as described by international standards.