The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has certified Colombian agribusiness DAABON Group as the first company in the world to fulfil the requirements of its RSPO NEXT scheme.

RSPO NEXT is a voluntary add-on module intended to engage RSPO member companies to exceed the scheme’s internationally recognised sustainability standard.

It was developed in response to increased market commitments to reduce deforestation and development on peat-land, decrease wildfires and eliminate human rights violations in the industry, RSPO said in a statement on 24 April.

DAABON, which manages approximately 9,950ha of oil palm plantation and has been RSPO-certified since 2010, started the RSPO NEXT auditing process in January 2017 with the help of third party independent certification body Control Union Certifications.

The six-day audit was carried out by a five-man team that reviewed DAABON’s four palm oil estates in northern Colombia and included certification of the 122 smallholder farms that supply the company’s mill, RSPO said.

DAABON CEO Manuel Julian Dávila said the company was proud to be the first RSPO NEXT certified company globally and that having achieved the status with its smallholders proved that it was “doable” despite the challenge.