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Unilever geolocates deforestation

Unilever is using geolocation data and satellite imagery to identify places where deforestation may have occurred in a pilot with tech company Orbital Insight.

Image: Photo by gryffyn m on Unsplash

The combined data helps locate exactly where some of Unilever's raw materials come from for its products, which range from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to Axe deodorant.

It has historically been hard to trace the exact origins of ingredients down to the individual farm or field, according to Marc Engel, the company’s chief supply chain officer.

“When you traditionally look at these supply chains, they’re very long and they’re very un-transparent … You are at the end of it, when you consume your cup of tea or you wash your hair with Dove or you eat a Ben & Jerry’s, you’re at the end of that chain. And then at the beginning of the chain is usually a farmer, or a company that uses the land. And then there’s a whole host of parties in between.”

—Marc Engel, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Unilever