The RSPO has developed a comprehensive set of Principles and Criteria (P&C)  for the production of sustainable palm oil. For the purposes of compliance with the requirements under the “People” pillar, Principle 4: Respect Community and Human Rights and Deliver Benefits); Principle 5: Support Smallholder Inclusion; and Principle 6: Respect Workers’ Rights and Conditions consist of criteria that set out the key human rights and social indicators as well as smallholder inclusion indicators.  These must be complied with by all palm oil producers who seek to be certified against the RSPO P&C.

For RSPO members to produce and trade Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), the production site (mill and supply base) must be audited by a Certification Body once every five (5) years. Once certified, the producer will be annually assessed for continued compliance through surveillance audits. The nature of auditing elements, such as those contained in Principles 4, 5 and 6, relies heavily on both the auditors’ understanding and clarity of the standards that an organisation is being audited against. Recognising these challenges as well as the criticism often given towards voluntary social standards, it is important to examine these standards more closely and make efforts towards strengthening them moving forward.

To this end, the RSPO intends to carry out research to assess whether the human rights and social (Principles 4 & 6) and smallholder inclusion (Principle 5) indicators are easily interpreted, implemented, and audited. This research aims to evaluate and analyse how auditors assess compliance of RSPO producer members against these Indicators. This analysis is part of the RSPO’s Secretariat’s own due diligence to ensure that the RSPO Standards requirements under the “People” pillar are implementable, and to identify bottlenecks, challenges and areas for improvement.

Interested applicants may submit their expression of interest to [email protected]  by 6:00 PM MYT (GMT+8) on 15 August 2022. For any queries, kindly contact the Human Rights & Social Standards Unit, RSPO Secretariat at [email protected].

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