The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has revised its certification standards including new requirements on deforestation and protection of peatlands, human and labour rights.

The new standards were adopted at the RSPO’s annual general assembly on 15 November, as part of the organisation’s five-year review cycle of its Principles and Criteria (P&C).

“Some of the key gaps identified in the P&C 2013 requiring improvement included halting deforestation, protecting peatlands, human rights and labour rights (including child rights), as well as the need to develop a separate standard specifically for independent smallholders, due for ratification in 2019,” the RSPO said.

The review of the P&C of 2013 ran from March 2017 to October 2018 and received 11,500 individual comments from stakeholders. RSPO CEO Datuk Darrel Webber said the review was the most inclusive of its kind, with two 60-day public consultations, 18 face-to-face events in 13 countries, six task force meetings and an unprecedented participation of civil society.

“Today, we endorsed a universal, transformative, and integrated agenda, intended to strengthen transparency and inclusivity in the RSPO system, increase implementation of the RSPO standards, boost market uptake of sustainable palm oil through shared responsibilities, and create an enabling environment for our shared vision of market transformation.”

RSPO grower members have been given a one-year transition period to implement the new standards.

The RSPO P&C are a set of environmental and social standards that member companies must comply with to meet RSPO certification standards. The standards are updated every five years and benchmarked against the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL).