RSPO recently hosted a Social Auditing workshop at Holiday Villa, Subang, Malaysia from 6 to 8 February, 2018. Conducted in partnership with Verité, the workshop saw the participation of 23 auditors who specialise in social auditing from various certification bodies based in Indonesia and Malaysia. The workshop was part of an initiative by the RSPO's Labour Task Force and Assurance Task Force to strengthen the capacity of its stakeholders, as well as create awareness of labour standards for RSPO stakeholders – particularly auditors.
During the 3-day workshop, the topics covered included ways in which the social auditors can strengthen their skills with the collection, analysis, and presentation of findings in the field, to ensure more comprehensive results in the audits conducted. Through the use of structured learning exercises and case studies, as well as conducting mock audits, the workshop provided the opportunity for constructive two-way interaction between the trainers and participants. The social auditors were also encouraged to voice their opinions and concerns about the things they encounter in the field. Some of the key issues included forced and child labour, working conditions, decent living wage, as well as grievance mechanisms.
One of the workshop participants, Mr Mohd Faisal Jaafar, a senior auditor from Bureau Veritas, said: "The workshop provided a platform for both the trainers and participants to share relevant experiences, knowledge, and tips on handling any issues that may arise during field audits."
Other feedback received from the auditors was that they found the workshop to be useful, particularly in having the opportunity for open dialogue, which provided some assurance to the auditors. The closing discussion covered ideas such as developing a guide on how to conduct social auditing, as well as piloting a set of modules for training for the auditors.