There are eight RSPO principles with 43 criteria under each principle. These P&Cs become the standard references used during the audit phase.
Smallholder Group will be audited based on the RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification of FFB ProductionEndorsed by the Board of Governors on 7th March 2016. An overview of the content of the document is as follows:
The group leader/manager, ICS, and a sample of farmers will be assessed based on these standards. Therefore, each farmer needs to understand the applicable Group Certification Standards for the audit so that he/she will have an overview of the key points that they need to prepare for during the certification process. Below are the requirements for a farmer based on the RSPO Group Certification Standards.
Section 2: Group Certification Requirement
This section outline the requirements for the Group Certification System. There are three elements:
Element 1: Group Entity and Group Management requirements
Element 2: The Internal Control System – Policies and management
Element 3: The Internal Control System – Operations
Section 3: Guidance for compliance with the RSPO P&C
Principle 1: Commitment to transparency
- Adequate information must be provided to relevant stakeholders on environmental, social and legal issues relevant to RSPO Criteria, in appropriate languages and forms to allow for effective participation in decision making.
- Farmer understands that all required information relating to the RSPO preparation is referred to the Group Manager.
- Farmer accepts and agrees to the group’s policy and ethical conduct
Principle 2: Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
- Farmer has a legal land title of ownership. For land under customary ownership, the farmer must be able to demonstrate they have the right to use the land and or have customary rights over the land they farm.
- Farmer understands the boundaries of his/her land. If there is a conflict related with land boundaries, the farmer has to explain why there is a conflict and what is the current status to the group leader, update the group until resolved, and record all meetings and who attended.
- Farmer understands the laws and regulations related to smallholder farmers, i.e.: land title ownership, regulation for developing groups of farmers.
- Farmer fulfills the requirements laid out by Group Manager, such as attendance for relevant training, and filling in the checklist/tools provided to guarantee legal compliance.
- Farmer receives handouts or attends presentations or meetings of any training conducted.
Principle 3: Commitment to long-term economic and financial viability
- This criteria is not applicable to independent smallholders.
- It is recommended for groups of smallholders to have a business plan for long-term economic viability of their operation, considering among others, cost of annual maintenance, replanting, potential expansion and long term sustainability of certification.
Principle 4: Use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers
- Farmer keeps records of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) implementation as defined in the group SOPs. Farmer can ask for SOP documents from ICS. Example of relevant SOPs checked by auditor include peat, fragile, marginal and slope soils, the storage of pesticides, waste disposal procedures etc.
- Farmer must have records of fertilizer and pesticide use and it must be maintained
- Farmers shall provide soil maps of their own farm to the Group Manager.
- Farmers shall record water levels at regular basis as specified within group SOP
- If applicable, the farmer maintains and restores riparian and other buffer zones as specified within the group SOPs.
- Farmer is expected to have a Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) manual and implement GAP. This includes training on integrated pest management (IPM), knowledge of pest and applicable chemical use and safe way to store the pesticides, waste materials disposal management,
- Farmer has the knowledge of pest and applicable chemical usage. If other persons are handling chemicals beside the farmer, then that person has to have attended relevant training
- Farmer ensure no pregnant or breastfeeding women are handling pesticides.
- Farmer ensures hazards on the farm are identified and understands how to deal with them.
- Farmer has a first aid kit.
- Farmer attends trainings related to OHS as well as to ensure the provision of PPE and medical check-ups for high risk workers.
- Farmer attends all trainings, proven by lists of attendance. If the farmer is absent, there is evidence of sufficient reason of absence.
Principle 5: Environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity
- Farmer understands the environmental risks, mitigation plans, and his/her contribution to reduce environmental impacts.
- Farmer understands High Conservation Value (HCV) areas and Rare, Threatened, and
- Endangered (RTE) species and how to protect them.
- Farmers shall participate in the HCV assessment.
- Farmer shall have a documented waste management and disposal plan.
- Farmers shall ensure that all chemical containers are properly handled and disposed.
- Farmer understands the no burning policy of the group.
Principle 6: Responsible consideration of employees, and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills
- Farmer understands the major social risks arising from their actions on the farm and how to mitigate them.
- Farmer is aware of communication procedures, both internally and externally (mills, local communities, and other parties).
- A procedure for identifying legal, customary or user rights, and a procedure for identifying people entitled to compensation, shall be in place. To do this, farmer shall formally request assistance from the Group Manager to assure compliance with the procedures.
- Appropriate to scale, farmer shall have a documented grievance mechanism in place.
- Farmer pays his/her workers at least the legal minimum wage.
- Farmers understand that his/her workers must have been informed on their employment contracts and conditions, including freedom to form and/or join trade union/association
- Farmer understands the child labor policy and has a record of the employee’s age and a copy of their birth certificate (if available).
- Farmer understands the equal opportunity policy and implements it. Both male and female employees are able to work and share the same rights in terms of wages and facilities.
- Farmer understands the sexual harassment policy and implements it for his/her employees.
- Farmer understands the pricing mechanism and on time payment for employees or business partners
- Farmer understands that there should be no forms of forced or trafficked labour.
Principle 7: Responsible development of new plantings
- Farmer understands the New Planting Procedures for smallholders
- Farmer understands the environmental and social risks of his/her operations.
- Farmer has planned the mitigation for these risks and has them on record.
- Farmer understands about soil types and sustainability
- Farmer understands about marginal and fragile soil
- (If available) Farmer has documented evidence of the process and outcomes of compensation claims
- For new members that have not conducted social and environment impact assessment, they are still able to join the group, as long as the group provides an internal inspection record for to prove that there is no violation of the RSPO P&C.
- Farmer understand source of GHG emission and steps to minimize GHG emission.
Principle 8: Commitment to continuous improvement in key areas of activities
- Farmer understands when he/she will do replanting