Unilever is to partner with U.S. tech company Orbital Insight on a pilot project to trace agricultural commodities sourced, especially palm oil. It claims to be using geolocation data and satellite imagery to identify the individual farms and plantations supplying the palm oil mills in its extended supply chain. The pilot project will be tested out at palm oils mills in Indonesia and soy mills in Brazil, working jointly with its established supply chain monitoring projects.
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Unilever touts supply chain mapping pilot in fresh bid to tackle deforestation
As ADM aims to end deforestation in its supply chain, will soy become the next palm oil?
Archer Daniels Midland, the third largest global supplier of agricultural commodities and one of the world’s leading soy traders, is launching their Responsible Soy Standard. Under this new programme, yearly assessments will be conducted by expert third parties to determine if growers are complying with a number of environmental, legal, social and agronomic standards.
Despite soy production acting as a leading driver of deforestation across South America, palm oil has remained the priority commodity for companies in the fight against deforestation. While 117 private companies have pledged to reduce the impact of their involvement with palm oil, only 27 have done the same with soy. It is hoped that ADM’s commitment could lead to other organisations following their lead and expanding their commitments to deforestation across commodities.
Experts have warned, however, that although commitments like these have led to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, the problem is simply being moved elsewhere. Much of the conversion of natural ecosystems for soy cultivation now occurs in other areas including Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Deforestation in Amazon jungle increases by nearly a third in one year
Deforestation in the Amazon has increased 28% in the 12 months through the end of July 2013. The rise is accountable by expanding farms and a rush for land around big infrastructure projects. Changes to Brazil’s forestry laws are also attributable to the increase, as well as high global prices for agricultural commodities.
Norway's $650B pension fund to require deforestation disclosure among portfolio companies
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will require companies in its portfolio to ‘to manage risk associated with the causes and impacts of climate change resulting from greenhouse gas emissions and tropical deforestation.’ The move comes after campaigners had targeted the fund for continuing to invest in companies associated with deforestation while the Norwegian government had committed $522 million to protecting the world’s forests. Questions considered in assessing company risk will include: disclosure on tropical forest footprint; commitment to international standards for sustainable production of agricultural commodities; and reporting on the implementation of its commitments.