Review of RSPO Principles and Criteria (P&Cs)

How should smallholders be considered in the context of RSPO’s ongoing P&C review project?

To seek public input on this question a subgroup of the P&C Review Taskforce has framed various 'Considerations for Smallholders'. This document is available on the RSPO website, below the section dealing with the general consultation on the revised P&Cs. The ‘Considerations for Smallholders’ document, which is available in seven languages, is composed of four sections. The latter three sections highlight three critical choices in RSPO’s approach to simplification:

1. How to construct principles and criteria?

a) Work from the top down, selecting core elements from the existing P&Cs to define minimum requirements for smallholder certification, or

b) Build minimum requirements from the bottom up, starting from ideas/issues most relevant to the smallholder context

Section 2 of the document is neutral, soliciting input on both options. Consultees might wish to suggest which of these options they see as more practical and/or comment on both and share an opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of both.
The table soliciting input on a top-down approach to defining minimum requirements for smallholder certification appears first in the document, and comprises nearly 60% of the whole document. Nevertheless, this is not necessarily the most important area for consultee input.

2. Which factors should be taken into account when revising definitions of smallholders?

This will determine which types of small producers are to be prioritised for eligibility to use a simplified certification approach. The document refers to smallholders in a generic sense, but in Section 3 it also suggests six factors that might be used to help distinguish smallholders from other producers, and to distinguish between different categories of smallholders. The way smallholders are currently defined in different countries and contexts can be confusing (as illustrated by examples annexed to the document).  The aim is to come up with more consistent definitions and categories that respect regional differences.

3. Should there be a single standard tailored to the specific context for smallholders (i.e. it would differ from that of large growers), or a step-wise approach with an intentionally low entry point and a series of steps to achievement of an RSPO standard?

Section 4 poses five questions and invites consultees to suggest other considerations on this point.

It should be noted that the P&C review touches on only one aspect of the RSPO Strategy for Smallholders, the scope of which is much wider than just simplification of the certification approach. The strategy emphasizes direct support to smallholders and the improvement of smallholder livelihoods. It also recognises that the business case for smallholder inclusion in the RSPO system must be made through increased support, including market linkages and incentives. Determining what type of support should be given to smallholders, and by whom, is outside the scope of the current consultation process.

How to participate
Consultees can return comments and provide inputs in the body of the ‘Considerations for Smallholders’ word document, which should then be returned to RSPO . Note this system for submitting comments is separate to the online survey set up for the general P&C review process.

The consultation period ends 30 October.