Food pro­duc­ers, sell­ers can track de­for­esta­tion risks in real time

The Hindu Business Line - - COMMODITIE­S -

Food re­tail­ers and pro­duc­ers can mon­i­tor de­for­esta­tion risks through­out their sup­ply chains in real time us­ing satel­lite im­ages ac­cessed via a new web­site, de­vel­op­ers said on Tues­day.

Led by the Global For­est Watch team at the Washington-based World Re­sources In­sti­tute (WRI), the GFW Pro plat­form en­ables com­mod­ity pro­duc­ers and buy­ers, in­vestors and green groups to act faster to pro­tect forests.

More than 80 com­modi­ties com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions are al­ready us­ing the web­site, in­clud­ing Cargill, Golden Agri-Re­sources, Louis Drey­fus Com­pany, Mon­delez, Olam, Proc­ter & Gam­ble and Unilever.

“It is glob­ally ap­pli­ca­ble and works ev­ery­where for any com­mod­ity,” Luiz Amaral, a WRI direc­tor who coled the project,

Thom­son

Foundation.

“Now, if trees fall any­where in the globe, ev­ery­body sees,” he added. “There are no more ex­cuses not to mon­i­tor.”

Com­modi­ties that can be tracked in­clude co­coa, sugar, rub­ber, tim­ber, palm oil, soy­beans and beef, WRI said.

Satel­lite im­ages

told the Reuters Us­ing more than 30 data-sets, in­clud­ing satel­lite im­ages from the US space agency NASA and the Euro­pean Space Agency, GFW Pro tracks and analy­ses plantation­s, farms, na­tional parks and mills to pin­point de­for­esta­tion risks like fires and il­le­gal log­ging.

Amaral said it would help cor­po­rate users - big and small - pri­ori­tise which sup­pli­ers to work with and set up pro­grammes to tackle de­for­esta­tion.

The real-time alerts can also warn plan­ta­tion firms of fires on their con­ces­sions, he added.

Palm oil, which is pre­dom­i­nantly grown in South­east Asia, is the world's most widely used ed­i­ble oil, found in ev­ery­thing from mar­garine to cook­ies, and soap to soups.

The in­dus­try has come un­der un­prece­dented scru­tiny in re­cent years by en­vi­ron­men­tal activists and con­sumers, and has been blamed for de­for­esta­tion, for­est fires and worker ex­ploita­tion.

But de­spite many big com­pa­nies mak­ing pledges of “no de­for­esta­tion” by 2020, at least 50 mil­lion hectares of for­est, an area twice the size of Bri­tain, was de­stroyed to pro­duce com­modi­ties over the last decade, said a sep­a­rate re­port from Green­peace In­ter­na­tional on Tues­day.

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