Nestlé implements 100% satellite monitoring coverage to achieve its “no deforestation” commitment


Nestlé, has announced its accelerated plan towards reaching the company’s 2020 “No Deforestation” commitment by becoming the first global food company to implement a satellite-based service to monitor 100 percent its global palm oil supply chains.

Starling, which is the name of the satellite, was developed by Airbus and The Forest Trust (TFT) as a global verification system evidencing that no deforestation is taking place throughout the supply chain. It uses cutting-edge technology combining high-resolution radar and optical satellite imagery to provide unbiased year-round monitoring of land cover changes and forest cover disturbances. Data collected along with its analytics enable companies to manage risks and perform field intervention strategies to drive changes.

Nestle who currently boasts of a 63 percent deforestation-free global supply chain, recognizes that deforestation is a serious and complex issue and should be addressed by the entire industry..

Magdi Batato, executive vice president, Head of Operations, Nestlé S.A, said, “Nestlé has always been committed to source the raw materials we need to make our products in a responsible manner. In 2010, we made a No Deforestation commitment stating that all our products globally will not be associated with deforestation by 2020.”

“In order to accelerate this journey, we have worked with Airbus and TFT since mid-2016 to embark on a pilot project over the Perak landscape in Malaysia. Starling satellite monitoring is a game changer to achieve transparency in our supply chain and we are pleased to extend this collaboration to cover 100% of Nestlé’s global palm oil supply chains by the end of the year. We will also extend this program to cover our pulp and paper supply chains next year as well as soya at a later stage,” he added.

François Lombard, Head of the Intelligence Business at Airbus Defence and Space, said, “Starling is a fully digital service, offering best-in-class machine learning and cloud technologies to provide very precise and near-real-time forest cover change information. Terabytes of satellite images are turned into actionable information, to provide our customers with a reliable service to monitor their supply chains and to early identify potential deforestation events.”

Bastien Sachet, CEO, TFT was confident that their partnership with Nestlé would yield good tidings, he said, “We welcome Nestlé’s commitment to using Starling to monitor 100% of its palm oil supply chain. When we started our No Deforestation journey with Nestlé in 2010, no tools existed for them to effectively monitor their suppliers in this way and a solution had to be created. Now, we are pleased to say, there is a ready and able tool to help companies rid deforestation from their supply chains. We see this milestone as the next step in our journey with Nestlé.”

Benjamin Ware, Global Head of Responsible Sourcing, Nestlé S.A, spoke in a bullish tone about the development and showed optimism as regards the introduction of the satellite,

“Our ‘eyes in the sky’ will monitor our palm oil supply chain 24/7, regardless of their certification status. This will enable us to further disclose publicly what we find, where we choose to suspend non-compliant suppliers, and where we choose to engage and improve the situation. This will come with a request to suppliers to share their concession information and work within the value chain with our partners to improve based on non-disputable pieces of evidence. This information along with our progress reports will be shared with our stakeholders, including consumers, investors and retailers. They will be made available in our Transparency Dashboard to be published on our website by 1 March 2019,” he said.