THE AUDITORS behind the influential Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certification scheme are producing fraudulent reports, according to a new investigation.
Research by the Environmental Investigation Agency and Grassroots also suggested that some of the scheme’s auditors are failing to identify indigenous land rights claims or cases of trafficked labourers being used in plantations.
It also found a weak understanding of the standards pertaining to certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO) and conflicts of interest between certification bodies and plantation companies.
Many major consumer goods firms now delegate responsibility for their sourcing policies to the RSPO and, by extension, to the “dodgy” auditors, according to the EIA.
“If the auditors are engaging in box-ticking and even colluding to cover up unsustainable practices, then products will get to the supermarket shelves that are tainted with human trafficking, rights abuses and the destruction of biodiversity,” said EIA’s forest campaigner Tomasz Johnson.
The report comes ahead of the RSPO general assembly in Kuala Lumpur this week. The RSPO is currently under intense pressure to deliver an improved auditing system that takes into account major issues like deforestation.