Four key factors to evaluate for a smooth RSPO certification process

There are several key factors you should evaluate to ensure a smooth RSPO certification process, to help you achieve your certification on time. In this blog you will read what these key factors are and how you can use them to your benefit.

1 | Preparation for the audit

Preparation is key - if things are not well prepared for the audit – it can easily result in an incomplete or delayed process (e.g. missing documents). Preparing for an audit consists of a long list of tasks, either done by yourself or a consultancy partner. But when a certification body starts the audit process, everything should be ready. You need to read the RSPO rules carefully to understand how to prepare for the audit.

You will need to know the documents and norms that are relevant to you as a client as these should already be there in place when the certification body arrives. This is also important for the certification body as they need to plan enough time for the audit for the process to occur. If the documentation isn’t done well the audit cannot take place which could delay the whole process to become RSPO certified.

2 | Clear communication

It might be an obvious point but clear communication is vital for a trouble-free process, especially when the audit occurs remotely or when their cant be conducted in local language. In these cases, communication issues may lead to a delayed certification process. So local expertise, understanding the local dynamics and also speaking the local language can all play a role in ensuring clear communication.

3 | Local expertise, local presence

Local expertise is something that differs between certification body. For RSPO certifications, there are two important components; plantation & supply chain. Local knowledge is particularly important for the plantation component (the field), where you talk directly with a client and need to understand the local dynamics to be able to ask the right questions. For example, questions related to social elements or environmental factors. The certification body needs to be able to have that local knowledge to make sure the right questions are being answered and the certification process runs smoothly.

When looking to become RSPO certified, it is important your chosen certification body has local expertise, local presence (depending on the audit) and experience with the standard. You want a certification body s that has understanding of the standard and who are also familiar with the business. For example, RSPO certification applied by a chocolate company is different than a company applied by a trader. Especially when it comes to the application of RSPO but also for other programs its additional when you become certified by a big company. In most cases there are advantages in being certified by a company that has global coverage, local expertise, and are a ‘one-stop-shop’ (offering RSPO related certification programs) and you have one single point of contact.

4 | Dedicated auditor

Finally, it is important is to have an auditor who allocates the right time to write up the report and communicate it in a timely manner. This means having an auditor you can always contact in relation to the reporting - a dedicated person following the process who can answer the questions you may have regards the reporting of an audit.

Download your RSPO checklist

Hopefully, these five key factors will help you to have a smooth RSPO certification process. To help you further, we created a checklist to compare certification bodies for a right first time RSPO certification process. In the checklist you will find key insights to ensure you select a trusted and experienced partner. You can download the checklist here.
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