The Principles and Criteria for the Production of Sustainable Palm Oil identifies practices that are consistent with the sustainable production of palm oil. The document lists criteria and ways that palm oil farmers, millers, and auditors can identify compliance practices. The updated, 2013 edition is the result of a yearlong review to improve the relevance and effectiveness of the 2007 Principles and Criteria for the Production of Sustainable Palm Oil. Changes to the document include new criteria for reporting, documenting, and measuring GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. The document is effective as of May 2013. The RSPO is committed to following the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.[i]
Goal: The RSPO aims to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil production the norm (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, 2012).
Principle 1: Commitment to transparency
1.1 Growers and millers provide adequate information to relevant stakeholders on environmental, social and legal issues […] in appropriate languages and forms to allow for effective participation in decision making.
1.2 Management documents are publicly available […]
1.3 Growers and millers commit to ethical conduct […]
Principle 2: Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
2.1 […] compliance with all applicable local, national and ratified international laws and regulations.
2.2 The right to use the land is demonstrated, and is not legitimately contested by local people […]
2.3 Use of the land for oil palm does not diminish the legal, customary or user rights of other users without their free, prior and informed consent.
Principle 3: Commitment to long-term economic and financial viability
3.1 […] implemented management plan that aims to achieve long-term economic and financial viability.
Principle 4: Use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers
4.1 Operating procedures are appropriately documented, consistently implemented and monitored.
4.2 Practices maintain soil fertility at […] a level that ensures optimal and sustained yield.
4.3 Practices minimise and control erosion and degradation of soils.
4.4 Practices maintain the quality and availability of surface and ground water.
4.5 Pests, diseases, weeds and invasive introduced species are effectively managed using appropriate Integrated Pest Management techniques.
4.6 Pesticides are used in ways that do not endanger health or the environment
4.7 An occupational health and safety plan is documented, effectively communicated and implemented.
4.8 All staff, workers, smallholders and contract workers are appropriately trained.
Principle 5: Environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity
5.1 Aspects of plantation and mill management […] that have environmental impacts are identified, and plans to mitigate the negative […] are made, implemented and monitored […]
5.2 The status of rare, threatened or endangered species and other High Conservation Value habitats […] shall be identified and operations managed to best ensure that they are maintained and/or enhanced.
5.3 Waste is reduced, recycled, re-used and disposed of in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
5.4 Efficiency of fossil fuel use and the use of renewable energy is optimised.
5.5 Use of fire for preparing land or replanting is avoided […]
5.6 Growers and millers commit to reporting on operational greenhouse gas emissions […]
5.6 Plans to reduce pollution and emissions, including greenhouse gases, are developed, implemented and monitored.
Principle 6: Responsible consideration of employees and of individuals and communities affected by growers and millers
6.1 Aspects of plantation and mill management that have social impacts […] are identified in a participatory way, and plans to mitigate the negative impacts and promote the positive ones are made, implemented and monitored […]
6.2 […] open and transparent methods for communication and consultation between growers and/or millers, local communities and other affected or interested parties.
6.3 […] mutually agreed and documented system for dealing with complaints and grievances, which is implemented and accepted by all affected parties.
6.4 Any negotiations concerning compensation for loss of legal, customary or user rights are dealt with through a documented system that enables indigenous peoples, local communities and other stakeholders to express their views through their own representative institutions.
6.5 Pay and conditions for employees and for contract workers always meet […] legal or industry minimum standards and are sufficient to provide decent living wages.
6.6 The employer respects the rights of all personnel to form and join trade unions of their choice and to bargain collectively. Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining are restricted under law, the employer facilitates parallel means of independent and free association and bargaining for all such personnel.
6.7 Children are not employed or exploited.
6.8 […] discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, or age, is prohibited.
6.9 There is no harassment or abuse in the work place, and reproductive rights are protected.
6.10 Growers and millers deal fairly and transparently with […] other local businesses.
6.11 Growers and millers contribute to local sustainable development […]
6.12 No forms of forced or trafficked labour are used.
6.13 Growers and millers respect human rights.
Principle 7: Responsible development of new plantings
7.1 A comprehensive and participatory independent social and environmental impact assessment is undertaken prior to establishing new plantings or operations, or expanding existing ones, and the results incorporated into planning, management and operations.
7.3 New plantings since November 2005 have not replaced primary forest or any area required to maintain or enhance one or more High Conservation Values.
7.4 Extensive planting on steep terrain, and/or marginal and fragile soils, including peat, is avoided.
7.5 No new plantings are established on local peoples’ land where it can be demonstrated that there are legal, customary or user rights, without their free, prior and informed consent. This is dealt with through a documented system that enables these and other stakeholders to express their views through their own representative institutions.
7.6 Where it can be demonstrated that local peoples have legal, customary or user rights, they are compensated for any agreed land acquisitions and relinquishment of rights, subject to their free, prior and informed consent and negotiated agreements.
7.7 No use of fire in the preparation of new plantings other than in specific situations, as identified in the ASEAN guidelines or other regional best practice.
7.8 […] the following new Criterion is introduced to demonstrate RSPO’s commitment to establishing a credible basis for the Principles and Criteria on GHGs.
Growers and millers commit to reporting on projected GHG emissions associated with new developments. […] Growers and millers commit to plan development in such a way to minimise net GHG emissions towards a goal of low carbon development […]
7.8 New plantation developments are designed to minimise net greenhouse gas emissions.
Principle 8: Commitment to continual improvement in key areas of activity
[i] Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. (2012). Vision and Mission. Retrieved July 02, 2013, from Rountable on sustainable Palm Oil: http://www.rspo.org/en/vision_and_mission
[ii] RSPO Executive Board for the Extraordinary General Assembly. (2013, April 25). Principles and Criteria for the Production of Sustainable Palm Oil. Retrieved July 02, 2013, from Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil: http://www.rspo.org/file/PnC_RSPO_Rev1.pdf