Home >> News: October 10th, 2016 >> Story
Satnews Daily
October 10th, 2016

Airbus Defence and Space, TFT & SarVision Count Trees ...New Imagery For No Deforestation Commitments

You are a big company that wants to prove you've kept your word about not chopping down forests of trees, but how do you accomplish that? Airbus Defence and Space, TFT and SarVision use a service called Starling which engages a combination of high-resolution optical satellite and radar imagery to provide unbiased monitoring of any changes in a forest cover. The first pilot customers that will use this service are Ferrero and Nestlé  to verify the responsible sourcing commitments they made for their palm oil supply chains.

Airbus Defence and Space, The Forest Trust (TFT) and SarVision have jointly developed a service enabling companies to provide evidence of how they are implementing their No Deforestation commitments. The service is called Starling and uses a combination of high-resolution optical satellite and radar imagery to provide unbiased monitoring of forest cover change. After 14 months of development Starling is now in operation with Ferrero and Nestlé as pilot customers and will be available to the market early 2017. It will be the first time a technology of this kind is made available to companies, from producers to global brands, to help them make the right decisions and meet the promises set out in their forest conservation policies. 

Bastien Sachet, Chief Executive of global environmental and social non-profit TFT said, “We believe Starling is revolutionary.  Not only does this service provide a level of accuracy never before seen, thanks to a combination of 1.5m SPOT images and cloud-independent radar data, it also goes beyond the traditional concept of ‘auditing’.”

Until now, brands and producers could only rely on auditing houses to verify Zero Deforestation commitments. However, auditors can’t get the overall view of the situation: they can’t access all forest areas, and are only spending a limited number of days in the field. Imagery from space offers a powerful alternative, bringing extensive, impartial and cost-effective information in real time, including the ability to easily differentiate replanting from deforestation. It allows companies to manage their operations, make fully informed decisions and demonstrate to buyers and consumers that they are true to their commitment. Starling will be available to the market starting January 2017. In the meantime the service is being piloted with early adopters.  

Bernhard Brenner, Head of Intelligence Business Cluster at Airbus Defence and Space added, “Most companies strive to do the right thing, and the aim of Starling is to give them the true capacity to do so.  Our constellation of satellites offers them a reliable tool to track and verify their actions and better protect the world’s resources.”

The partnership between Airbus Defence and Space, TFT and radar remote sensing specialists SarVision began in 2015. Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for activating its satellites, pre-processing the imagery and distributing the service worldwide. TFT’s experience in land use planning and forestry and SarVision’s expertise in radar imagery analysis complement the design of the solution. Complex, expert satellite data is turned into information that can be directly used and understood by agro-industries.