Palm oil is the most used vegetable oil in the world and nearly 85% of all palm oil is produced and exported from Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.The sustainability of palm oil is a growing concern for consumers and a tough issue for manufacturers who use the product. When rainforests are cleared and burned to plant oil palms, it destroys habitat for wildlife such as tigers, elephants and orangutans. Forest-dwelling people are also impacted, and deforestation creates greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the United Nations, palm oil plantations in Southeast Asia are a major source of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. Hence to overcome this humongous problem Nestlé plans to use satellite monitoring service to limit deforestation in its palm oil supply chain.
The Swiss company said in its release that 63% of its global supply chain was deforestation-free as of last year and that it has committed to shifting all of its global products to that status by 2020.
Starling satellite service, developed by Airbus and The Forest Trust, will monitor all of the company’s global palm oil supply chain by the end of this year to provide high-resolution radar and satellite imagery documenting land cover changes and forest cover disturbances.
This satellite monitoring plan is one way for Nestlé to bolster its sustainability credentials by moving forward on responsible sourcing. This project could help Nestlé create meaningful improvements in its supply chain and boost its environmental profile at the same time. The company plans to be transparent about these changes by providing progress reports online. However, that means Nestlé will have to follow through with its commitments since consumers, investors, retailers and other stakeholders will be watching.