The Palm Scribe

Nutella Producer Commits to Using Satellite Monitoring of its Palm Oil Supply Chain

oil palm

Ferrero, the Italian company that produces Nutella, a popular hazelnut spread, has committed itself to using the Satellite-based Starling monitoring and verification services to monitor land cover changes and forest cover disturbances in near real time to help assure a deforestation-free palm oil sourcing.

“Ferrero is fully engaged to secure a deforestation-free and exploitation-free palm oil supply chain, and we are continuously dedicated to finding innovative solutions that are able to support our commitment. Starling offers a state-of-the-art technology which allows us to reliably monitor potential land use change across all our supply chain, enabling us to take action”, said Ferrero’s Chief Procurement & Hazelnut Company Officer, Marco Gonçalves.

A company statement carried on the company’s official website, quoted Gonçalves as saying that data provided by Starling, a service operated by Earthworm Foundation and Airbus that uses a combination of satellite imagery and on-the-ground expertise to monitor land cover change and forest cover disturbance, will enable Ferrero to identify grievances in its supply chain and drive positive change on the ground.

Gonçalves said he believed the use of Starling across Ferrero’s palm oil suppliers will support the company’s commitment to no deforestation. “We continue to commit to sourcing palm oil that is 100 percent RSPO Segregated (SG) certified and traceable to plantations and are confident that this verification tool will strengthen our efforts to secure a sustainable palm oil supply chain.”

He was referring to the segregated supply chain model that assures that Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified oil palm products delivered to the end user come from Identity Preserved (IP) certified mills.

“Ferrero is among the first companies to adopt satellite monitoring across all its palm oil supply chain, accelerating its no deforestation commitment and demonstrating the new standard for the industry in transparency and accountability,” Earthworm Foundation CEO Bastien Sachet was also quoted in the statement as saying.

Sachet said that deforestation was a global challenge, a shared responsibility of all actors in commodity-based supply chains. “No single company can tackle deforestation alone. To accelerate the fight against deforestation more businesses must back up their commitments with consistent monitoring, verification and targeted action. Their collective dedication and coordinated action is the key to successful transformation” he said.

François Lombard, Director of Intelligence Business at Airbus Defense and Space added that “to provide a global and precise monitoring of deforestation, at the right level of scale and frequency, we had to develop a very advanced solution, combining the best of our Earth Observation satellite imagery with our AI-based land cover analytics. Our Starling solution can guarantee a unique, reliable and impactful monitoring service in order to verify and actively work on non-deforestation commitments.”

Ferrero began working with Earthworm Foundation in 2013 to drive the company’s efforts in the area of sustainable palm oil. After achieving 100 percent traceability to palm oil plantations in 2016, it began verifying that the principles on protecting forests, as outlined in Ferrero’s Palm Oil Charter, were respected by oil palm producers in its supply chain.

In the same year, Ferrero started a Starling pilot project, which focused on selected palm oil plantations within its supply chain in Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Indonesia and proved the power of this technology. Ferrero has been building upon the insights from the pilot project to optimize engagement with its suppliers. The aim is to verify compliance and assess transformative actions, while respecting smallholder farmers’ rights to improve their livelihoods.

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