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What Does Smallholder Certification Mean?

RSPO certification helps smallholders increase yields, penetrate international markets, improve their livelihoods, and reduce the risk of land conversion. Certification is a symbol of credibility and proof of sustainable practice in operations.


Why is becoming certified important?

The palm oil supply chain, from the tropics to its use as an ingredient in retail products all over the world, is complex.
To ensure the credibility of the sustainability claim at the end of the supply chain, all organizations that take legal ownership and physically handle RSPO certified sustainable oil palm products need to be supply chain certified.
Transparency and credibility are assured through RSPO Supply Chain Certification and RSPO Principles and Criteria Certification, including RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard 2019.

RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard 2019?

The RSPO Independent Smallholder (ISH) Standard was developed by a dedicated multi-stakeholder, the Smallholder Interim Group (SHIG) in accordance with Objective 2 of the Smallholder Strategy. The ISH Standard serves as a generic document for smallholders that qualify as independent smallholders.The RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard 2019 can be downloaded here.
The RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard 2019 aims to increase the inclusion of smallholders by introducing a phased approach to implement sustainable practices across the three sustainability pillars - Prosperity, People, and Planet, over a specified period of time. The approach includes three phases:

Entry Level:

Eligibility (E); minimum requirements that need to be met in order to enter the certification system



Milestone A (MS A): intermediate requirements to be met within 2 years


Full Compliance:

Milestone B; final requirementsto be met within 1 years of meeting milestone A

A group can progress directly to Full Compliance (MS-B) if at Eligibility they can demonstrate compliance with Milestones A and B at the same point of time.

Country Interpretation of RSPO Independent Smallholder Standard 2019

A country-specific interpretation of the RSPO ISH Standard provides national level guidance on the implementation and auditing on the compliance of the Independent Smallholders Group against the RSPO ISH Standard, based on national applicable laws and circumstances. Read more here

Independent Smallholders' Key Documents

Guidance Document and Template for Independent Smallholders (with the expand/ minimise feature)


The Independent Smallholders’ journey to certification

As part of the certification process, there are several steps which the Independent Smallholder Group must take to prepare for RSPO certification. The diagram below explains the necessary steps to be taken.
Disclaimer: The content on this site is to provided to the public as an overview. This site is constantly being update. We will make every attempt to retain this site up to date and correct all inaccuracies that are brought to our attention. You are encouraged to initiate contact with RSPO through smallholder@rspo.org for getting the update.