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Interpretation of Internal Audit Requirement in the RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard


Independent Smallholders (ISH) certified against the RSPO ISH Standard 2019 are required to carry out an annual internal audit for all group members upon being certified at Milestone B. The capacity and resources required to implement this requirement and audit all the group members annually pose a challenge for many ISH groups. As a result, a large proportion of the certified ISH groups may face difficulties in complying with the requirement and risk losing their certification. 

As such, RSPO would like to announce that an interpretation of Indicator Internal Control System (ICS) B1.1 MS B of the RSPO ISH Standard 2019 has been endorsed by the Board of Governors and is applicable immediately as of the posting of this announcement. ICS B1.1 MS B requires that the ICS is implemented and an annual internal audit of the group is conducted for all group members and all audit findings are resolved.

In line with RSPO’s commitment to support smallholders, this interpretation was developed by a sub group under the Smallholder Standing Committee (SHSC), with the aim of providing interpretation and guidance of the internal audit requirement in the RSPO ISH Standard. Compliance against the requirement of ICS B1.1 MS B shall be shown by completing an internal audit for all group members by:

  • The first annual surveillance audit (i.e., ASA 1) for New ISH Groups

  • The second surveillance audit (i.e., ASA 2) for Existing ISH Groups transitioning from the RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification of FFB Production to the RSPO ISH Standard.

Detailed information on the interpretation can be found in the attached document. For additional clarifications, please email the Smallholder Unit at smallholder@rspo.org.