We’re teaming up with Google Cloud to capture satellite images of the forests, biodiversity and water cycles that intersect our supply chain.

It’s a partnership that will help raise sustainability standards, allowing us to see a more complete picture – quite literally – of the ecosystems connected to the raw materials we source from around the world.

Using data to detect deforestation

By combining the power of cloud computing with Google Earth’s ability to map the planet by satellite imagery, we’ll be able to store and make sense of huge amounts of complex data, and gain insights into any impact on local environments and communities. And we’ll work with a broad range of technology partners to build a centralised command centre for this work.

Not only will this lead to greater accountability in our supply chain, it will also help us to better detect deforestation and prioritise any areas of forests or habitats in need of urgent protection.

It brings us a step closer to our goals of regenerating nature and ending deforestation in our supply chain by 2023. And it means we can work with suppliers to increase transparency and take action wherever and whenever it’s needed.

The partnership will initially focus on the sourcing of sustainable palm oil and will be extended to further commodities in the future.

Change through collaboration

While several academic and public organisations already use Google Earth imagery, this is the first time it’s been applied commercially for commodity sourcing. We hope to share our findings with further partners on the platform in the future, democratising data to put an end to deforestation.

“This collaboration with Google Cloud will take us to the next level in sustainable sourcing,” says Dave Ingram, Unilever’s Chief Procurement Officer.

“We will now be able to process and combine complex sets of data like never before. The combination of these sustainability insights with our commercial sourcing information is a significant step-change in transparency, which is crucial to better protect and regenerate nature.”

“At Google, we strive to build sustainability into everything that we do. Unilever has been an industry leader in environmental sustainability for many years, and we’re excited to be on this journey with them,” adds Rob Enslin, President, Google Cloud.

“Together, we’re demonstrating how technology can be a powerful tool in aiding businesses who strive to protect the Earth’s resources. It will require collective action to drive meaningful change, and we are committed to doing our part.” 

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