Fairtrade strikes key deal with Satelligence for sharing forest data with farmers
Fairtrade International has agreed a fresh partnership with Satelligence to scale up satellite monitoring of forested areas and farms for its cocoa producers, in a move designed to fully engage agricultural communities, reports Neill Barston.
As Confectionery Production has previously addressed, the issue of delivering greater transparency and accountability within supply chains has remained high on the agenda of the wider industry.
In response to this, the EU is presently devising a new legislative framework governing how European businesses import key commodities including cocoa, as well as parallel laws surrounding deforestation-free trading agreements.
For its part, Fairtrade’s latest scheme is aiming to connect its cooperatives with data on their members’ farms and their deforestation risks, so that data can be openly shared with commercial partners. This is widely believed to help enable better manage forest landscapes.
As the organisation noted, the joint venture will also support producer organisations – representing more than one million coffee and cocoa farmers cultivating 2.5 million hectares – to meet the European Union Deforestation Regulation requirements so they can maintain access to important markets in Europe and beyond.
“This partnership focuses on an increasingly important area of trade: access to risk management data, which defines what cocoa and coffee can enter the EU market. Whoever has the data has the key to market access,” said Jon Walker, Senior Advisor for Cocoa at Fairtrade International (see our previous World Confectionery Conference).
“Many large buyers have their own monitoring systems that cover the cooperatives they buy from, but they don’t necessarily share what they see with the cooperatives themselves. Inequalities in trading relationships will only widen if producer organisations are reliant on their trade partners for access to these important data. This partnership enables producer organisations and their smallholder members to have access to the data and act on risks identified.”
“Inequalities in trading relationships will only widen if producer organisations are reliant on their trade partners for access to these important data. This partnership enables producer organisations and their smallholder members to have access to the data and act on risks identified, added Walker.
As Fairtrade noted, by equipping cooperatives with data about the farms where their cocoa and coffee is produced, they can make informed business decisions as well as offer this value to their trade partners.
Building on a set of cocoa cooperatives that tested geolocation and monitoring functionality in Ivory Coast and Ghana last year, the new three-year partnership aims to include all Fairtrade certified cocoa and coffee producer organisations by 2025.
“Our collective goal is that farmers have the data they need to move forward in a changing regulatory environment, which ultimately contributes to their sustainability as businesses and communities,” said Arisbe Mendoza, Director of Global Impact for Fairtrade International. “The partnership provides a proven satellite monitoring system combined with technical support from Fairtrade to interpret and manage the data on an ongoing basis. This is an important step in our journey to bring more transparency to supply chains.”
Explaining the initiative further, Fairtrade noted that producer organisations provide geolocation data for each of their members’ farm plots. Satelligence’s platform verifies this geolocation data to ensure data quality.
Second, the system detects any deforestation activity within members’ boundaries, and whether or not farms are located in protected areas. It also flags deforestation near the farm, an important piece of information that contributes to cooperatives’ risk assessments. Finally, the system generates reports that cooperatives can use themselves, and provide to their customers or potential customers.