Lessons Learned from Mandatory Certification (Tantangan dan Rekomendasi Langkah Bersama menuju Keberpihakan Uni Eropa terhadap ISPO)

Indonesia has ample experience with attempts to create synergy between various standards, with a very simple conclusion: standards are like water and oil. Mixing standards requires ample effort, either by mechanical excitement or high-tech chemistry. Even then they tend to separate out due to false perceptions of superiority, i.e. one standard is “better” than the other. The futility of such wet dreams becomes clear once we see these standards “in action”. The very same auditor verifying the “superior” standard also verifies the “inferior” standard and both tend to get reduced to the lowest common denominator.

This bring us to the weakest link in certification: the auditor and CABs. Publications like Who Watches the Watchmen (EIA 2015; see also Lawson 2007, WWF & WB 2006) – and many informal discussions – point to a crucial issue concerning all standards using using third party verification: the competence of auditors. Some stakeholders argue that auditors are hired by the company and therefore will falsify their findings in its favour. Auditors reject this conspiracy theory, but there is ample evidence that competence amongst auditors is declining, and they are currently the weakest link in certification/verification.

However, if we keep these characteristics in mind there is ample opportunity for synergy between various standards.

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