Guaranteeing Deforestation-Free Products using Satellite Imagery
Last edited: March 27, 2023
Published: March 21, 2023
Web Development, GIS technology and programming languages
This blog post covers new requirements set by the new EU Deforestation Law and explains how Orbify’s spatial intelligence tools can help traders and operators meet these in the best possible way.
Deforestation is still happening on a large scale around the world, causing climate change and natural disasters. Deforestation is driven by a great demand for commodities and derived products in Western countries that continue to import these on a large scale. Examples of this are wood, timber, cocoa and coffee, as well as derived products such as furniture and printed paper products.
While consumers and traders of these commodities cannot control deforestation directly, legislation can help to promote a more responsible way of consumption and make sure traders and operators of such commodities are deforestation-free. This requires risk analysis from companies to make sure their merchandise comes from locations where no deforestation has taken place, or that there’s a low risk that their goods are associated with deforestation. For these reasons, the EU published a new legislation proposal under the name EUDR (EU Deforestation Regulation) that took effect in January 2023.
New due diligence requirements
The new law is mainly targeted at companies from EU member states selling or importing the commodities mentioned above. These now have to conduct due diligence before placing their products on the EU market, to prove that their merchandise being associated with deforestation or forest degradation is low. The EU distinguishes between traders of goods that already are on the market and operators who first place goods that fall under EUDR on the market (or export them). Small operators or microenterprises will have 24 months to comply with new requirements, while operators and traders will have 18 months for this.
More specifically, traders and operators need to do the following during this time:
- Obtain geolocation coordinates, latitude and longitude of all plots of land from where the commodities or products (including wood) were sourced, as well as the date or time range of production
- Publicly report on their due diligence systems and the steps they have taken to ensure compliance with their obligations
These are not small and easy tasks. They require investments in data, tools, and domain expertise from experts so that the origin of a product can be verified and the EUDR requirements can be met in time. This is where Orbify can help.
Earth intelligence for a better understanding of deforestation over time
Orbify is a SaaS platform provider that enables the creation of custom Earth Intelligence web applications, dashboards, or APIs. Geographical data such as satellite images, web maps and dashboards are key components offered by Orbify that enable traders and operators to see how land use changed over time, to check if deforestation occurred or not. More specifically, Orbify can offer the following services and deliverables regarding deforestation detection:
- Carry out general forest loss change detection over time based on satellite imagery and algorithms, so that the extent of this phenomenon can be understood to create public awareness among EU citizens about deforestation
- Perform checks for individual traders and operators based on coordinates from production sites to see if their products are deforestation-free or not since 2001, based on their origins. The results can be shared through individual apps using deforestation maps and the geographical origins of the commodities sold and exported in the EU
- Create a collective deforestation database by collecting and aggregating from individual traders and operators, showing the classification and land history for individual suppliers
- Evaluate the results of forest loss detection and indicate zones “at risk” of forest loss. This is valuable information for future due diligence statements that can be shared through mapping apps
- Similarly to indicate forest zones “at risk”, overlay these data with indigenous settlements locations so it becomes clear where humans are at risk as a result of forest loss
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