Designing a Social and Environmental Impact Assessment tool for RSPO Smallholders
The Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) requires their members to conduct a Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) in order to obtain RSPO certification. Such an assessment aims to identify potential environmental or social issues and is used to set out appropriate actions needed to address negative effects. Where large companies have the organizational capacity to carry out an elaborate SEIA without problems, this can pose significant challenges for oil palm smallholder groups with farm land less than 500 ha. Aiming to stimulate RSPO certification among smallholders, the RSPO Smallholder Working Group (SHWG) has decided to simplify the SEIA and asked Aidenvironment to provide support.
Aidenvironment is currently designing a smallholder-friendly SEIA. The tool will include easy implementation and reporting requirements with use of little resources to enable smallholders to comply with regulations. By focusing on issues that are relevant and have priority for smallholders with oil palm plantings in different contexts, the SEIA will be globally applicable.
The SEIA tool takes into account the different applications and can be used by smallholder groups that want to acquire RSPO certification or smallholder groups that are already certified but want to apply new planting (expansion). Based on the expected impact different formats of the SEIA have been developed. For each application the main social and environmental issues for smallholders were identified based on literature search, experience of the team, the RSPO Principles and Criteria 2013 and RSPO management system requirements and guidance for group certification of FFB production.
To make the assessment process as accessible as possible, Aidenvironment will work together with a programmer to create a digital tool that smallholders can use on their mobile phones. The tool can be used to carry out the smallholder- friendly SEIA, produce a SEIA report and develop a Social and Environmental Management plan (SEMP).
The tool is being developed in close collaboration with Sebastian Persch, who is responsible for developing and testing the digital app.