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Covid-19 - How we’re adapting for RSPO certification audits

With the unprecedented scale and impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, the RSPO Secretariat has been monitoring impact of the outbreak on on-site audits for RSPO Supply Chain Certification (SCC) and the RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C). In view of the seriousness of the outbreak, while ensuring the credibility of the RSPO certification scheme is maintained, the RSPO Secretariat has decided on a temporary audit procedure to be implemented by all RSPO accredited certification bodies (CBs) for all RSPO P&C and RSPO SCC audits.

For audits RSPO P&C audits: 

  • Initial certification audits shall be performed in full compliance with the RSPO P&C requirements and therefore should be performed on-site. Initial certification audits shall NOT be performed remotely.

  • Surveillance and recertification audits can be partially performed through a combination of remote and on-site audits. The remote audit will be used as a basis of extending the existing license for another three month period. 

  • Once the travel restriction has been lifted, the CB needs to conduct an on-site audit and complete the audit process in accordance with the current procedure.   

  • The RSPO secretariat has provided guidance to the CBs on how the remote audit is to be conducted. 

For RSPO SCC Certification audits: 

  • A CB will decide whether an on-site or remote audit is to be conducted. 

  • If a remote audit is carried out, the CB needs to maintain relevant evidence of the restrictions preventing them from travelling and conducting the on-site audit. This provision is  applicable for the Supply Chain audits covering the Initial Certification, Annual Surveillance or Recertification audits. 

  • During a remote audit, the review of documentations (such as the purchase and sales of the certified materials) must be carried out in accordance with the RSPO Supply Chain Standard requirements

  • The CBs are required to submit a request for license extension prior to expiry of the license if the remote audit is conducted after the expiry of the RSPO PalmTrace license.

  • The remote audit will be used as the basis for submission of a new license in the RSPO Palmtrace. 

With immediate effect, this temporary audit procedure is valid until travel restrictions and precautions are lifted. From time to time, the RSPO Secretariat may issue a new guidance or directive, and will inform members accordingly. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us at certification@rspo.org should you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter.