RSPO Principles and Criteria

The RSPO Principles and Criteria for the Production of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO P&C) include principles, criteria, indicators and guidance that are applied during and after any land is developed for oil palm plantings. The P&C provide a framework for palm oil growers and millers to implement sustainable production practices.

These are supported by a National Interpretation (NI) of the RSPO P&C which provides country-specific context to the application of the RSPO Principles and Criteria. The RSPO New Planting Procedure (NPP) specifies a sub-set of RSPO P&C that must be independently evaluated prior to any development of new plantings.

The RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) is a generic standard for use by crude palm oil mills and producers of fresh fruit bunches (FFB). RSPO P&C audits cover both the mill and its supply base. Where more than one mill shares the same supply base, deviations may be requested from the RSPO Secretariat to include more than one mill on a single certificate.

For plantations with no integrated mill, or where the mill is not yet established, the requirements in the P&C relating only to mills are not applicable. Certification includes both directly managed land (and estates) and scheme smallholders and outgrowers, where estates have been legally established with proportions of lands allocated to each.

Mills are required to develop and implement a plan to ensure that 100% of scheme smallholders and scheme outgrowers are compliant with the standard within three years of the mill’s initial certification.

For independent smallholders, the RSPO has developed a system of Group Certification which allows a number of individual growers to certify their Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) together under a single certificate. In these cases, the certification includes the group manager and 100% of the group members, and the group manager shall also comply with the requirements of the RSPO Management System Requirements and Guidance for Group Certification of FFB Production.

Benefits of adoption

Certification to the RSPO Principles and Criteria (Palm Oil Plantations) demonstrates your commitment that the standard of production is sustainable with the added benefits of:

  • The recognition associated with a unique, sustainable supply chain integrity program,  that fulfils the obligation for everyone involved in palm oil production
  • The opportunity to feature your product(s) as premium because of how it’s produced
  • Credibility through the integrity of the RSPO sustainability claim, enabling consumers to make informed product choices in an environmentally conscious market.
  • Being able to differentiate your product through the use of the RSPO trademark in both business to business and business to consumer communications

The journey to certification

The first step to certification is to document your system against the specific requirements of the standard. You will also need to apply for RSPO membership as this is an essential requirement of the certification criteria.

Apply for membership

The RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&C) is a generic standard applicable to the crude palm oil mill as well as to the supply base producing the fresh fruit bunches (FFB); defining the principle, criteria, indicators and guidance for the production of sustainable palm oil. There is a generic audit checklist reflecting the minimum requirements to comply with RSPO P&C 2013 to ensure that the assessments are consistent and objective driven. There are four sections to this document including:

  • Section 1 – Template for Records
  • Section 2 – P&C Checklist
  • Section 3 – Checklist for Supply Chain Audit of the Mill
  • Section 4 – Checklist on elements stipulated in the RSPO System Document

The P&C checklist details the principles, with the corresponding criterion, indicator and checklist prompts. Principles include:

  • Principle 1: Commitment to transparency
  • Principle 2: Compliance with Applicable Laws and Regulations
  • Principle 3: Commitment to Long-term Economic and Financial Viability
  • Principle 4: Use of Appropriate Best Practices by Growers and Millers
  • Principle 5: Environmental Responsibility and Conservation of Natural Resources and Biodiversity
  • Principle 6: Responsible Consideration of Employees and of Individuals and Communities Affected by Growers and Millers
  • Principle 7: Responsible Development of New Plantings
  • Principle 8: Commitment to Continual Improvement in Key Areas of Activity.

Download the checklist

Why BSI?

BSI believes the world should be supplied with food that has been produced to an industry recognised standard. We offer a broad range of certifications and risk management services to help all organizations in the food supply chain achieve compliance and industry best practice to grow their business.

We’re a leading food safety and certification provider with extensive auditing capacity and the capability to conduct integrated audits for a wide range of food safety standards across the entire food and beverage supply chain – including GFSI-recognized standards.

Our service solution for food safety includes certification, training, assessment and supply chain software, providing you and your customer’s assurance and enabling you to manage risk more effectively.