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RSPO Drainability Assessment Procedure

The RSPO Secretariat is pleased to introduce the RSPO Drainability Assessment (DA) Procedure, developed by the Peatland Working Group 2 (PLWG2) over the course of the past 18 months. This procedure is applicable to all RSPO members with existing and/or future acquisitions of existing Oil Palm (OP) plantations on peat. In line with the requirements of indicator 7.7.5 of the 2018 Principles and Criteria (P&C), this procedure is to be conducted 5-years prior to the replanting of existing OP planted peat area, and will provide companies with the remaining years before reaching the drainage base (ground water level), with the intention of providing companies with ample time to improve peat management and/or phase out OP on peat (refer figure 2).

Companies are required to phase out OP and/or rehabilitate the assessed area at least 40 years prior to reaching the drainage base.

Figure 1: Example showing a plantation required to phase out OP after completing 3 OP cycles, leaving a buffer of 40-years prior to reaching the ‘drainage base’.

12 Month Implementation Period

Grower members will have a period of 12 months from the date of the introduction of the RSPO Drainability Assessment Procedure to implement this procedure. During this implementation period, companies are encouraged to use this procedure in the initial drainability assessment (see transition arrangements) and provide feedback. All assessments conducted during this period (including feedback) shall be sent to the RSPO Secretariat for internal review and amendments may be made where necessary. Submissions are to be sent by email to the RSPO Secretariat at ghg@rspo.org 

Transition Arrangements

Companies planning to replant OP on existing peatland areas  between 2019 - 2023 are required to conduct an ‘initial drainability assessment’ for these areas, during the 12 month implementation period.


Figure 2: Transition arrangements for the Drainability Assessment Procedure

The proceeding action required by the company will depend on the result of the drainability assessment, Drainage Limit Time (DLT).

i. DLT > 40 years – Replanting may proceed as per the original planned replanting year

ii. DLT ≤ 40 years – Replanting may be deferred for 2 years OR until 2024 (whichever earlier).

For point (ii) above, during the deferment period, companies are required to improve their peat management and gather additional subsidence date in the assessed areas, with the aim to reduce peat subsidence. The drainability assessment may then be reconducted, of which, phasing out and/or rehabilitation is required if the DLT from the second assessment is <40 years (see figure 2).

Applicability of RSPO Drainability Assessment Procedure

All replanting of OP in peat areas from 11 June 2019 onwards will require a prior drainability assessment to be conducted for the replanting area, using either:

i. RSPO Drainability Assessment Procedure; OR

ii. Any other RSPO recognised methods.

For point (ii), companies are required to submit their drainability assessment report to the RSPO secretariat for review prior to any land clearing of existing OP for replanting for drainability assessments completed 11 June - 15 November 2019. Failure of the RSPO review will result in the requirement to conduct the drainability assessment using the RSPO Drainability Assessment Procedure. The assessment report may be submitted to the RSPO secretariat by emailing ghg@rspo.org.

Drainability assessments which have been completed and have commenced replanting activities before 11 June 2019 may continue replanting as planned based on the results of the completed assessment(s).

Note: Starting 15 November 2019, all alternative methodologies require confirmation by RSPO prior to use. Proposals may be done by sending a copy of the proposed methodology to ghg@rspo.org.

Amendment: Revised DA Procedure updated with minor corrections to document entry into force (pg. I)

Title Language Modified *
Last modified date of master document
RSPO Drainability Assessment Procedure V 1.1
15 Jul 2019