Operated by Earthworm Foundation and Airbus, the Starling system uses a combination of satellite imagery and on-the-ground expertise to monitor land cover change and forest cover disturbance in near real time. By providing data that shows where potential deforestation occurs, Starling will enable Ferrero to identify grievances in its supply chain and drive positive change on the ground.
This is part of a longer journey for Ferrero which, in 2013, began working with Earthworm Foundation to drive the company’s efforts in the area of sustainable palm oil. After achieving 100% 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.
Ferrero’s Chief Procurement & Hazelnut Company Officer, Marco Gonçalves, believes the use of Starling across Ferrero’s palm oil suppliers will support the company’s commitment to no deforestation. “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. We continue to commit to sourcing palm oil that is 100% 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.”
Earthworm Foundation CEO, Bastien Sachet, applauded the move. “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. However, deforestation is 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.”
François Lombard, Director of Intelligence Business at Airbus Defence 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 landcover analytics. Our Starling solution can guarantee a unique, reliable and impactful monitoring service in order to verify and actively work on non-deforestation commitments.”