With the adoption of the revised RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) in November 2018 and Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard in November 2019, palm oil producing companies are required to align their policies to recognise and integrate more gender-equal views and practices in their operations. RSPO members, specifically palm oil producers and independent smallholders, must comply with the new, gender-responsive standard not only as a response to respecting human rights, promoting sustainable livelihoods and reducing poverty, but also as a step forward to improve human resource efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

In order to encourage the implementation of the gender-related requirements of the RSPO standards, the Human Rights and Social Compliance Working Group (HRSCWG), with the assistance of consultants, have developed a draft of the Practical Guidance on Gender Inclusion and Compliance to the 2018 P&C and ISH Standard 2019. It is meant to be a logical and intuitive guide that describes the building blocks of a gender-inclusive business, which embraces women’s economic empowerment and can be used in the fields, mills, and refineries, as well as by labour service providers.

As the 2018 RSPO P&C focuses on a gender-balanced approach, this practical guide aims to share best practices and strategies that promote gender balance in operations to meet the relevant criteria and indicators. Although the development of this guide is not meant to be an overall solution to gender equality within the sector, it will assist companies to take the steps towards developing its strategy to close the gender gap by expanding women’s economic opportunities, increasing awareness and education among the workforce, and thereby ensuring compliance to the 2018 P&C, while assisting Independent smallholders seeking to be certified against the ISH Standard.

The public consultation will last for 30 days from 26 August 2020 to 23 September 2020.

Please download the draft of the guidance (in PDF format), available in five (5) languages – English, B.Indonesia, French, Spanish and Thai, at the end of this announcement. Subsequently, please provide your comments to the relevant sections of the guidance via the Google Form below in the language of your preferred choice.


To ensure the safety and well-being of our members, we will not be organising any face-to-face workshops; however, we have included a zoom recording, which was held on 21 July 2020, titled ‘Introducing Gender Guidance for RSPO’ that will provide the scope of the guidance and the intended inputs for comments that we are looking to receive, in order to enhance the current draft.

Practical Guidance on Gender Inclusion and Compliance to P&C 2018 and ISH 2019

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