In April 2013, the EB approved the amendment made to the RSPO Standard for Group Certification document. With this approval, scheme smallholders and outgrowers that do not possess its own mill can now be certified under this standard.

The RSPO Standard for Group Certification was developed and approved by the EB in 2010 in order to facilitate access for small producers to certification.

Under the present standard, Group Certification under RSPO only covers independent smallholders. Larger independent oil palm growers (i.e. usually exceeding 50 ha, or as defined by national interpretations, and without an associated mill) as well as scheme smallholders without processing mills have not been included within the Group Certification but foreseen to be done at a later time as decided by the RSPO.

Since 2010, many initiatives by smallholders, both scheme and independent, have started and are moving towards certification. In 2012, several groups of smallholders went through certification either via mill or group. In Oct 2012, an independent smallholders group from Thailand received their certificate, being the first RSPO certified independent smallholder group under the Group Certification. The RSPO Secretariat continues to receive inquiries on potential certification of smallholder groups and outgrowers who does not have associated mill.

RSPO Standard for Group Certification (July 2010) stated that Group Certification under RSPO shall only cover independent smallholders and is not applicable for scheme smallholders.

With this statement, it limits the opportunity for some potential smallholder groups to go for certification as they may not fully fall under scheme or independent smallholder. For example, in Malaysia, smallholder organisations like FELDA, FELCRA, RISDA, SALCRA and SLDB are technically seen as scheme smallholder as they are government link organisations which provide direct supports to the smallholders. However, not all of these organisations possess mill of their own; hence, some of the groups under the scheme are selling their fruits to independent mills.

With the current RSPO Standard for Group Certification (July 2010), such groups of supply base (without mill) can never get certified.

While this may be the case for Scheme Smallholders, RSPO certification is also not clear for plantations and/or Outgrowers that without mills. These types of producers generate FFB without a specific mill to process FFB to CSPO. At the same time, under the RSPO Certification System such a property own by any grower member need to be included into their time bound plan.

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Amended Version of the RSPO Standard for Group Certification (July 2010; Amended in April 2013)

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