With satellites and supply chains, global brands take aim at deforestation

Global tree cover loss data for 2018 aren’t in yet, but most observers agree the picture remains mixed, at best. While some countries appear to be slowing deforestation, others – including, notably, Brazil – are now accelerating the conversion of rainforests to farmland. At this juncture, market forces hold significant sway over rainforest survival and can complement any progress national governments or international bodies make. Under pressure from consumers and worried that run-away climate change will affect their supply chains, large international brands are applying new technology and novel strategies to try to lessen their impact on tropical forests. While results from such efforts are only beginning to show, they hold great promise for imperiled tree covers in the Amazon and beyond. A few examples: 1. Satellite images help Nestlé track tree loss Airbus, the Dutch aerospace company, and The Forest Trust, a global non-profit, have developed a new satellite tracking tool called Starling. This platform helps companies spot land and tree cover changes where they source products, almost in real time. Nestlé, the Swiss food and drink giant, last year became the first corporation to use Starling to monitor its supply chains for palm oil, pulp and paper. […]

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