Choosing a RSPO certification body, what should you consider?

There are important aspects that a certification body has to comply with to ensure a smooth RSPO certification process. Pricing and credibility are two important factors to be considered and we will explore both further in this blog.

1 | Price and quality the certification body offers

Price will be an important factor for most organizations when investigating RSPO certification. There are different factors that come together to make up the price: the size of the company, the experience and quality of the certification body. The more experienced and the higher the credibility, the bigger the quality assurance to your RSPO process is.

About the importance of quality can’t be underestimated, especially, if you want to communicate externally the progress that you have made regarding sustainable palm oil, as the expertise and credibility of the certification body will provide a degree of assurance.

You want to ensure that the certification body you choose is able to confirm that quality. If your concern is just to get the RSPO certification, you can go as cheap as possible but that might mean you have difficulties later in the process when it comes to processing sustainable palm oil.

Finding the right balance between price and quality
Some certification bodies are certified for RSPO but offer a very low price. However, it could be that this low price brings some associate challenges, including: 
  • Less internal systems / poor internal processes
  • The auditor is not 100% qualified – or qualified only to the minimum level 
  • There is not enough quality checks to the process
  • If the quality is reduced, the credibility and assurance that you’re looking for is diminished
It all comes down to finding the right balance between your budget and the credibility and experience of the certification body.

A challenge can be when the reason for achieving RSPO certification has not come from a vision or sustainability commitment. In most cases, big companies have a vision and they ask their clients to achieve the RSPO certification, they push the clients to get the RSPO certification to be able to sell to them. The certification is seen as a license to operate, rather than a tool to achieve a wider vision of commitment that they have as a company.

2 | Possibility to combine RSPO certification with other certification

Another aspect to consider when looking for a certification body is the possibility to combine particular programs with other certification programs. This could make the audit process smoother because you don’t need to have other audits throughout the year or you can maybe have the same person who can do both audits year. From a quality perspective, the certification body will be able to align the processes. This means you can follow a line of work and communication with the same person (or with a small number of people) depending on how many programs you want to address.

The key factors to consider

The key factors what you should consider when it comes to choosing a certification body, are:
  • Price - find the right balance between price and quality
  • The possibility of combining certifications (if needed in the entire certification process)
  • Finding a company that ensures there is a smooth process throughout with dedicated people that are experienced in their local dynamics and program applied to their business
  • Credibility of the certification body
The final point – credibility of the certification body – comes down to the question of how long have the certification body been offering this service and how large is their organization? What happens if you do a quick search on internet? Do you find any issues related to that organization with the RSPO standards or maybe other standards?

Downloadable RSPO checklist

Hopefully, this blog helps you which factors you need to consider when you choose a certification body and which aspects are important to ensure a smooth RSPO certification process. To help you even further, we created a RSPO checklist with other key insights that can help you to ensure you select a trusted and experienced partner. You can download the checklist below.
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