Social Guidelines

castor plant

The Swiss Government has provided support to the RSB since the beginning of 2011 to improve its social principles and related guidelines, in particular those that relate to local food security (Principle 6), land and water rights (Principle 12 and 9a), rural and social development (Principle 5). The guidelines are now available for download here.

This work was conducted with the support of a group of ten international experts which met twice in person in Lausanne (June 2011 and February 2012) and otherwise worked remotely. The following table lists the experts who contributed to the work and their affiliation:

  Name Position Organization
Helena Barton (RSB Evaluator) Director Corporate Context, United Kingdom
Sigrid Brynestad Principal Project manager, Climate Change and Environmental Services DNV, Norway
Marcus Colchester Director Forest Peoples Programme, United Kingdom – Lead author: RSB Land Rights Guidelines
Rocio Diaz Chavez Research Fellow, Center for Environmental Policy Imperial College London, United Kingdom – Lead author: RSB Guidelines on Rural and Social Development
Laura German Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology University of Georgia, USA (formerly Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia)
Anna Carla Lopez Professor San Diego State University, USA – Lead author: definitions of region of poverty and region of food insecurity
Graham von Maltitz Senior Researcher Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa – Lead author: RSB Guidelines on Water Rights and Social Impacts
Andrea Rossi Natural Resources Management Officer (Bioenergy) Food and Agriculture Organization
Annie Sugrue Regional Director for Southern Africa Solidaridad, South Africa
Stephen Thornhill Lecturer and Research Fellow, Department of Food Business and Development University of Cork, Ireland – Lead Author – RSB Guidelines on Food Security


The project included the field testing of the RSB social Principles and the guidelines in at least six developing countries. Seven field tests were successfully completed in the following countries: Mali, Peru, Mozambique, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. The field evaluations were also instrumental to test the different versions of the screening tool proposed throughout the lifespan of the project. The following table provides the key information on the seven field evaluations conducted under the umbrella of this project:

Africa Africa S. America S. America Asia Asia Africa
Jatropha Sugarcane Sugarcane Jatropha Oil palm Oil palm Sugarcane
Smallholder- based Plantation/ Estate Plantation/ Estate Smallholder- based Smallholder- based Plantation/ Estate Plantation/ Estate
Production Preparation Preparation Preparation Production Production  Production
Screening Tool ver. 1.9 Screening Tool ver. 2 Screening Tool ver. 2.1 Screening Tool ver. 2.3 Screening Tool ver. 2.3 Screening Tool ver. 2.4 Screening Tool ver. 2.5


The anonymous field evaluations reports can be downloaded here:

  1. Field evaluation in Africa
  2. Field evaluation in South America
  3. Field evaluation in Africa
  4. Field evaluation in South America
  5. Field evaluation in Asia
  6. Field evaluation in Asia
  7. Field evaluation in Africa