Fairtrade to expand deforestation monitoring through partnership with Satelligence

Fairtrade and Satelligence partnership

Fairtrade and Satelligence have launched a new partnership to ramp up satellite monitoring of forested areas and farms to all certified coffee and cocoa and producer organisations globally.

The initiative aims to connect Fairtrade cooperatives with data on their members’ farms and their deforestation risks, so the cooperatives can share the data with commercial partners and better manage forest landscapes.

“This partnership focuses on an increasingly important area of trade: access to risk management data, which defines what cocoa and coffee can enter the European Union market,” says Jon Walker, Senior Advisor for Cocoa at Fairtrade International.

“Whoever has the data has the key to market access. Many large buyers have their own monitoring systems that cover the cooperatives they buy from, but they don’t necessarily share what they see with the cooperatives themselves.

“Inequalities in trading relationships will only widen if producer organisations are reliant on their trade partners for access to these important data. This partnership enables producer organisations and their smallholder members to have access to the data and act on risks identified.”

The Fairtrade-Satelligence partnership and expansion plan will also support producer organisations – representing more than one million coffee and cocoa farmers cultivating 2.5 million hectares – to meet the EU Deforestation Regulation requirements so they can maintain access to important markets in Europe, and beyond.

Fairtrade says by equipping cooperatives with data about the farms where their cocoa and coffee is produced, they can make informed business decisions as well as offer value to their trade partners.

Building on a set of cocoa cooperatives that tested geolocation and monitoring functionality in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana last year, the new three-year partnership aims to include all Fairtrade certified cocoa and coffee producer organisations by 2025.

“Our collective goal is that farmers have the data they need to move forward in a changing regulatory environment, which ultimately contributes to their sustainability as businesses and communities,” says Arisbe Mendoza, Director of Global Impact for Fairtrade International.

“The partnership provides a proven satellite monitoring system combined with technical support from Fairtrade to interpret and manage the data on an ongoing basis. This is an important step in our journey to bring more transparency to supply chains.”

The initiative works by producer organisations providing geolocation data for each of their members’ farm plots, with Satelligence verifying the data. The system detects any deforestation activity within members’ boundaries, and whether or not farms are located in protected areas.

It also flags deforestation near the farm, an important piece of information that contributes to cooperatives’ risk assessments.

Finally, the system generates reports that cooperatives can use and provide to customers or potential customers.

“We are proud to partner with Fairtrade, making sure we help prevent further marginalisation of farmers by unlocking access to markets with proof that their goods are deforestation-free,” says Niels Wielaard, CEO of Satelligence.

The Fairtrade Cocoa Standard aligns with the EU Deforestation Regulation requirements, including that farms above four hectares in size or in high-risk areas must use polygon mapping, while smaller farms and farms in low-risk areas can use single geolocation points.

Fairtrade also requires traders to support producer organisations from which they buy in their deforestation monitoring and prevention efforts, whether through material or financial support.

The Fairtrade Coffee Standard is being reviewed to include similar requirements, scheduled to be decided on by the Fairtrade Standards Committee in late 2023.

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