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Certified sustainable palm oil
Mon 3rd February 2014
RSPO Smallholder Support Fund: Manufacturers & retailers encouraged to support palm smallholders in $1.25 million fund application
Tags: RSPO // Smallholders fund // Sustainable palm oil
Product manufacturers and retailers are being called upon to help palm smallholders access a $1.25 million fund to assist them in gaining Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification.

The RSPO allocates 10% of income generated by the trade of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), as well as 50% of surplus income, to the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF).

Launched in March 2013, the RSSF acknowledges the important role smallholders play in the future of sustainable palm farming by providing financial support to projects focused on obtaining RSPO certification and the promotion of sustainable production practices.

Smallholders, defined as farmers of 50 hectares or less, account for 40% of the world’s palm production. By working with smallholders to access the RSSF, manufacturers and retailers that use palm oil ingredients in their products can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and develop a mutually beneficial relationship with growers.

Smallholders can apply for a maximum of $100,000 per year for agricultural training, conservation activities, social development, market access and organisational growth, as well as to cover the cost for auditing. This must be match funded by another sponsor, usually a product manufacturer or retailer keen to demonstrate support for palm sustainability. The primary aim for any project must be RSPO certification.


With the RSPO certification process for smallholders taking, on average, one to three years – the funding initiative is for a maximum period of three years with clear milestones set for each year.

Julia Majail, Smallholders Program Manager at the RSPO, is keen to promote the RSSF to product manufacturers and retailers as well as smallholders because it represents a perfect opportunity for them to directly support a smallholder group to move towards RSPO certification:

“By partnering with the RSSF in this way, organisations can directly influence palm farming practices and make a measurable difference to smallholder communities and their surrounding environment.

“The RSPO, with the help of social and environmental NGOs, can facilitate partnerships between manufacturers or retailers and smallholders. Support can also be given to smallholders wanting to make an application for the RSSF.

Bob Norman, General Manager at GreenPalm, the sustainable palm oil certificate-trading programme, believes that the RSSF can facilitate real change as well as fostering ongoing relationships between manufacturers and growers:

“Enabling smallholders to access much needed funds is just the start. Organisations can also purchase GreenPalm certificates directly from smallholder groups, further underlining their support and developing their own CSR programmes.

“With consumers increasingly expecting their favourite brands to demonstrate sustainable practices, it also enables manufacturers and retailers to develop direct relationships with smallholders. It really is a win-win approach to palm sustainability.”

Interested parties should contact Julia Majail, Smallholders Program Manager at the RSPO. 

Fund application and supporting documents can be download directly via the RSPO website.

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Issued on behalf of GreenPalm by Bluestorm 

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