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RSPO certificate for sustainable palm oil - What you need to know

Posted by Bertrand Duteil on 30/03/2017


Palm oil products are omnipresent in our daily life, in the food industry but also in many different industries such as:

  • Body care and cosmetics industry
  • Biofuels and energy
  • Catering and service industries
  • Medicaments
  • Industrial use
  • Animal feed (palm kernel oil distributors)

Produced in Malaysia and Indonesia by up to 80%, palm oil production requires large areas of palm trees, generally leading to massive deforestation of rainforest with no attention paid to ecological, economic or social negative aspects.

With the increasing demand of sustainable products, palm oil producers and industries using palm oil products had to get certifications attesting the sustainability of their product. One of them is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Standard (RSPO standard).

Basics about the RSPO Standard

Created in 2004, the Zurich-based private organisation stands internationally for sustainably produced palm oil products all along the supply chain. Originally founded after an initiative of the NGO WWF, the organisation represents the interests of different stakeholders such as environmental organisations, plantation owners,  food companies, manufacturer and retailer of palm oil products.

The standard is based on 8 principles and 43 criterias to respect for the practical implementation. The standard is updated every five years with the most recent version published in 2014 and obligatory since 01.04.2015.

The 8 principles are the following ones:

  1. Commitment to transparency
  2. Compliance with applicable laws and regulations
  3. Commitment to long-term economic and financial viability
  4. Use of appropriate best practices by growers and millers
  5. Environmental responsibility and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity
  6. Responsible consideration of employees and of individuals and communities affected by growers and mills
  7. Responsible development of new plantings
  8. Commitment to continuous improvement in key areas of activity

The goal of the standard is the continuous control and monitoring of sustainable palm oil products along the supply chain. This is the reason why the RSPO standard covers every step from the refinery to the manufacture, the sale and transport of palm oil products.

The different RSPO Standards

There are 4 different ways to get palm oil products certified with the RSPO Standard:

  • Identity Preserved (IP): certifies that the end product has been manufactured from identifiable and certified mills and with a transparent and complete traceability.
  • Segregation (SG): certified that the end product only comes from certified sources
  • Mass Balance (MB): makes the transfer of certification properties to another palm oil product
  • Book & Claim (B&C): makes the transfer of certified stakeholders within the supply chain.


The certification system contains the following elements: certification standard, accreditation requirements and certification requirements. For a successful certification, you have to follow the steps below:

  • Identification of Critical Control Points
  • Control and documentation of the origin of raw material and products
  • Training of employees
  • Introduction of documentation management
  • Spatial separation of certified and noncertified products

Companies seeking a certification must be member of the RSPO organization. The certification is carried out with a certification audit mady by an independent, accredited certification authority. Successful initial certification is followed by an annual monitoring audit. The certificate has a validity of 5 years and has to be renewed after this period of time with a recertification audit.

Further information

You need an efficient document management system to centrally manage all necessary documents and evidence for sustainable production? Find out more about ecratum and its features supporting you with your supplier relationship management.

Discover now our SRM platform

Tags: Certifications, tips