UK: Two leading multinationals, RB (Reckitt Benckiser), consumer health and hygiene, and PZ Cussons, consumer products, have taken a further step in the implementation of their No Deforestation policy by partnering with Earthworm Foundation and Airbus to use Starling satellite technology to monitor 100% of their palm oil supply chain.
Earthworm Foundation, expert in transforming supply chains to create positive environmental and social outcomes, announced today that they had two of their members joining the Starling project. Bastien Sachet, CEO of Earthworm Foundation said, “Many companies have committed to meeting their environmental goals by 2020.
While this was a very important step, our work on the ground shows us that there is a massive gap between the promises made and the reality that needs to be bridged. Seeing committed companies having the courage to proactively monitor and verify their supply chain is essential.
That way, in-depth deforestation information can enable them to take concrete action on the ground and actually implement that commitment. We are happy that our members RB and PZ Cussons have decided to use Starling to tackle deforestation.”
RB and PZ Cussons are both committed to NDPE (No Deforestation, Peat, Exploitation) policies, their use of Starling is a further step towards ensuring their palm oil supply chains become free of deforestation. In September 2018, Nestlé was the first company that committed to using the Starling monitoring system. Already, 100% of Nestlé’s palm oil supply chain is being monitored for deforestation.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Miguel Veiga-Pestana, SVP for Corporate Affairs at RB said, “We have committed to better protecting one of the world’s most valuable natural assets – its forests. We will achieve this by using this very powerful tool to monitor our supply chains.
Working collaboratively will be vital to achieve this goal. We began to pilot our use of Starling in 2018, in Malaysia, with one of our key suppliers of palm oil. With this tool we are now able to identify risk prone areas, predict potential deforestation and develop corrective actions. In 2019, we will begin to use Starling across our entire global palm oil supply chain, enabling us to develop a proactive approach with all our suppliers to monitor and eliminate deforestation over time.”
Also, commenting from their UK Headquarters, Sam Plant from PZ Cussons said, “We hold ourselves accountable for the palm oil we source and are fully committed to playing our part in the reform of the industry.
Our 2020 Action Plan sets out how we are going to deliver on our 2014 Palm Oil Promise to source 100% of our palm oil from producers whose entire operations have been independently verified compliant with NDPE standards. Starling technology will help us track progress and take action, following on-going engagement with any non-compliant suppliers.”
Starling, created by Airbus and Earthworm Foundation, uses a combination of high resolution imagery and radar data in order to provide monitoring of land cover change, focusing on forest cover loss. It is a private and independent tool that allows companies to monitor the implementation of their No Deforestation policy.
Starling uses Airbus’s high-resolution SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 satellites as well as other third-party sensors. The data generated is then processed through machine learning algorithms, which are designed for large geographical areas.
With sharp accuracy and detailed resolution, Starling’s reference maps differentiate between production forests that include palm plantations, natural forests and other areas.
Francois Lombard, Director of Intelligence at Airbus Defence and Space commenting on today’s news said, “Thanks to satellite imagery from space we can offer a powerful tool, bringing extensive, impartial and cost-effective information in near real time, including the ability to differentiate replanting from deforestation. Our technology allows companies to manage their operations and make informed decisions and demonstrate to all stakeholders that they are fully committed.”
RB and PZ Cussons are committed to No Deforestation as set out in their NDPE policies. These policies first emerged in 2011 from one company and now include oil palm producers, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, banks and pension funds.
By committing to these policies, the companies demand that their suppliers refrain from developing peatlands and forested land into new oil palm plantations. Violations of such policies can lead to suspension or termination of sourcing relations. Zero deforestation has therefore become a criterion for market access to these large traders/refiners.