02.11.2019 (The Star Online) - KUALA LUMPUR: A coalition of 10 major palm oil producers, including Sime Darby Plantation, and buyers are working together to fund the development of a new, radar-based forest monitoring system.
The publicly available system, known as Radar Alerts for Detecting Deforestation (RADD), will make it easier for companies and other stakeholders to see deforestation happening in near-real-time and with greater accuracy.
With this information, they can quickly mobilise follow-up actions on the ground and work to improve the sustainability of commodity supply chains, according to a statement issued by Sime Plantation.
The coalition includes Bunge, Cargill, Golden Agri-Resources, Mondelez International, Musim Mas, Nestlé, Pepsico, Unilever and Wilmar.
The RADD system is being developed for Indonesia and Malaysia. Preliminary results for Indonesia and Malaysia indicate that the new RADD system can detect tropical deforestation several weeks earlier than optical-based systems.
Developed by Wageningen University and Satelligence, and facilitated by World Resources Institute, the RADD system will augment existing publicly available monitoring tools that rely on optical-based satellite imagery, which can be delayed when clouds obstruct the view of forests.
Through the use of radar waves, the new system can penetrate cloud cover and gather forest change information without being affected by clouds or sunlight.
RADD is the first radar-based monitoring system of this scale that will make deforestation alerts publicly available.
Alerts will be available on Global Forest Watch and Global Forest Watch Pro, and the methodology behind the alerts will be published.
The new system will use freely available radar data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1A and B satellites, which orbit the earth every six to 12 days. These satellites provide high spatial detail that will also improve detection of smaller clearing events.
Throughout the RADD system development over the next two years, partner companies will receive alerts about detected deforestation events and will provide crucial feedback to improve the system.
The open nature of the system will enable companies – plus governments, civil society organisations and concerned stakeholders – to monitor forests using the same information source and standards.
Sime Darby Plantation chief sustainability officer Dr Simon Lord said in the statement that people around the world are concerned about the rapid rate of deforestation and regrettably the oil palm industry is often associated with it.
“As producers of sustainable palm oil, Sime Darby Plantation understands this concern and believes that traceability in our supply chain is necessary to draw the line on deforestation.
“While we have developed our own traceability tool called Crosscheck, we know we cannot do it alone because change requires an industry-wide effort.
“We believe that working together with like-minded partners on the development of RADD will ensure we move towards a sustainable future for our world and the industry, ” Lord said.
Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/11/02/cpo-producers-buyers-to-fund-monitoring-system#uSM58dBR0rktSfgD.99