The ICS (Internal Control System) is developed by the group of farmers to guarantee that every improvement made by a farmer is well documented. The ICS will be in charge of internal audits and arrange the Standard Operational Procedures (SOP) for the organization. During the main audit phase, the ICS needs to assure the reliability of the SOPs and the capabilities of each function in the ICS structure (Hidayat, Glasbergen, & Offermans, 2015).
The basic structure of an ICS consists of an ICS manager, an internal committee, membership and training, internal inspection, and trading. The ICS manager is responsible for ensuring that each member implement the RSPO standard and have documentation to demonstrate compliance. The internal committee is responsible for selecting new members based on an internal agreement. Internal inspectors are responsible to conduct internal audits and monitor the whole system of the group. Trade managers are responsible to buy and sell FFB based on standard procedures.
According to the RSPO Group Certification Standard (Section 2), the ICS is required to perform to the following principle
Principle 1: Commitment to transparency
- Group provides standard form logbooks and reports for the farmers. The forms list the relevant information from each farmer, such as the farmer’s identity, domicile, land area, type of plantation, source of seeds, FFB (Fresh Fruit Bunch) productivity, and location of plantation.
Principle 2: Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
- Group informs the farmers of the relevant laws and regulations the farmers are to follow.
- Group provides guidance in regulation implementation for members, which includes farmer’s land status, either for farmers that have their own land title or are in the process of applying for land title.
- Group supports the members in terms of administration works for proposing land legality to local government
- Group conducts mapping for any claim of legal rights or traditional rights on member’s land, which has an impact with locals.
- Group provides assistance for members to negotiate on new land developments with local authorities, either government or local tradition.
Principle 3: Commitment to long-term economic and financial viability
- Group provides information related to production forecasts, access to new information technology, market prices, and factors that determine production costs.
Principle 4: Use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers
- Group assists the farmers with records of pesticide and fertilizer usage and organizes the inspection and pest control measures and reporting.
- Group conducts product quality control of pesticide sprays before being distributed to members.
- Group assists the members to maintain simple records of daily activities.
- Group organizes, monitors best practices, and maintains infrastructure (i.e.: roads, bridges)
- Group compiles training materials and realization records for each training provided by plantation companies, other groups of farmers, NGOs, etc. Members have the rights to keep copies of the training materials.
- Groups of farmers provide assistance and trainings for members on:
- Sustainable palm oil cultivation
- Best practices of agrochemical usage
- Standards and ICS (Internal Control System)
- Groups of farmers have access to work health and safety policies
Principle 5: Environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity
- Groups identify HCV (High Conservation Value) areas and members aim to improve and protect such areas
Principle 6: Responsible consideration of employees, and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills
- Group encourages members to be able to explain the social impacts on their cultivation practices.
- Group identifies social impacts with members or related parties that are impacted upon by the member’s plantation. Group can have additional insights from independent experts if necessary.
- Group has communication mechanisms that are designed together with the local society for any issues caused by or related to the group.
- Group provides procedures and mechanisms for complaints
- Group keeps records of constructive responses to every complaint
- Group to inform members on labor wages and work standards as stated in applicable laws and regulations.
- Group supports the members in identifying legal and local rights for any compensation related with right’s diversion.
- Group informs and facilitates members in understanding child labor regulations.
- Group informs members on rights equality.
- Group has a policy on woman empowerment and sexual harassment.
- Group has the policy to conduct business with members or local business owners in fair and transparent ways.
- Group should be involved in determining FFB price
- Group conducts negotiations with partner companies in determining the contribution for local development through price deduction.
- Group facilitates social and environmental impact assessments for new plantations.
Principle 7: Responsible development of new plantings
- Group facilitates for members to consult with the relevant institution regarding HCV area identification.
Principle 8: Commitment to continuous improvement in key areas of activities