1. Background
      The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is one of the leading voluntary sustainable standard-setting organisations in the global agricultural production system. Indicator 6.2.6 of the 2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) stipulates that “a decent living wage (DLW) is paid to all workers, including those on piece rate/ quotas, for whom calculation is based on achievable quotas during regular working hours. “Ensuring proper implementation of a living wage needs a good understanding of the context where RSPO Members operate, existing wage practices on the ground, and having baseline information that can enable designing appropriate support to members as well as tracking progress over time. To this end, the RSPO Secretariat recognised the need to conduct high-quality research in major palm-producing countries/regions (e.g. Indonesia, Malaysia, Latin America, and Africa).
    2. Objectives of the study
      This research aims to shed light on country-specific dynamics: the minimum wage systems, industry norms, current wage structures by job segments, and contract types in palm oil producing regions where RSPO Members operate. This study is expected to provide deeper understanding and rich contextual information, clarity on common job segments, contract types, pay systems, and wage structures that are common in the palm oil sector. The report of the study also aims to deepen understanding of actual wage levels compared to relevant minimum wages, opportunities, and challenges to improve wages in the sector.
    3. Scope of the study and research design
      • Phase 1: Institutional level (national, sub-national legal requirements; major public and private regulations that influence industrial relations; and wages in the palm oil sector): Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil, Honduras, Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and Cameroon.
      • Phase 2: Company-level (wage structure and pay systems across various job segments and types of contracts). The scope of implementation of this baseline study at firm level is limited to sample plantation and mill companies (unit of certification) that are members of the RSPO in the proposed countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, Guatemala, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).
        The baseline study will involve primary research involving various field instruments such as surveys, key interviews (including with institutional level actors), focus group discussions, document reviews, and should involve secondary research (e.g. desktop review of peer-reviewed literature alongside gray literature, and so on).
    4. Timeframe
      The study will be conducted from July 2023 to January 2025:

      • Phase 1: July 2023 – December 2023
      • Phase 2: January 2024 – October 2024The final report (Phase 1 & 2) is expected to be submitted to the RSPO by November 2024
    5. Deliverables
      Within the proposed timeframe, the following deliverables are expected:

      1. Final data sets (all raw data). RSPO retains the proprietary rights to all the data collected, referred to and used in the preparation of the reports including all outputs (all reports of Phase 1 and 2).
      2. Monthly progress reports and/or discussions including, but not limited to, survey instruments and guides for interviews or focus group discussions, fieldwork updates, and others.
      3. A final report at the end of the study covering:
        • Analysis of the objective and scope as mentioned above including relevant annexes;
        • Comparative analysis of wages or wage ladder (comparing actual wages with relevant minimum wages and/or average wages of the sector [where applicable], national, and world bank poverty lines, etc.); and
        • Opportunities and barriers/challenges to improve wages in the sector including flagging best practices.
      4. A presentation pack and presentation of the findings of the study and/or to relevant RSPO Task Forces and/or Working Groups.
    6. Applicant’s minimum requirements for eligibility
      RSPO requires the services of specialised, consistent, and independent individual(s) to conduct the research as per the objective mentioned above. The applicant is required to meet the eligibility and requirements detailed in the Terms of Reference (ToR) below.
  1. Tender submission guidelines
    The proposal should take into consideration the following elements:

    1. Technical proposal;
    2. Proposed budget; and
    3. Detailed curriculum vitae(s).


Date Tender Activity Active Party
29 May 2023 Expression of Interest must be received by this date Vendor
19 June 2023 Proposals must be received by this date Vendor


Kindly download the ToR – Baseline study on wages in palm oil sector, which includes:

  • Evaluation criteria; and
  • Instructions on tender submissions.

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