In view of the ongoing concern of the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries and regions, travel restrictions and tight quarantine procedures that are still imposed by authorities, the RSPO Secretariat has been working closely with RSPO members, certification bodies (CBs), and an accreditation body (AB) to identify ways to ensure that RSPO standards remain credible, and even though on-site audits may not be enforced, it does not affect our ability to uphold the high level of assurance that is expected from the RSPO certification systems.
In continuation of the previous announcement on 5 August 2021, the RSPO Secretariat is considering an alternative approach for CBs and certificate holders (CHs) in managing the RSPO P&C and ISH certification in light of the continuity and uncertainty of the pandemic situation such as newly reported COVID-19 cases, and the emergence of new variants at national and international levels.
As a result, the RSPO Secretariat has agreed to revise and replace the previous Contingency RSPO Audit Procedure (Version 1) with this version, to be used by all RSPO accredited CBs and Units of Certification (UoC) when conducting RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) and RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) standard audits in a situation of force majeure (e.g., pandemic, natural disaster, civil unrest, etc.) which prevented the audit team from conducting a field assessment, to maintain the credibility of the RSPO certification scheme.
The Contingency RSPO Audit Procedure (Version 2) can be used by the CBs and CHs after 23 November 2021 on a voluntary basis, and will formally replace the Contingency RSPO Audit Procedure (Version 1) on a date that will be further announced by the RSPO Secretariat. All requirements in the RSPO Certification System for the P&C and ISH Standard remain unchanged unless stated otherwise in this document.
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