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New Palm Oil Risk Tool Allows Companies to Better Identify Deforestation Risk

June 17, 2016

New Palm Oil Risk Tool Allows Companies to Better Identify Deforestation Risk

by Nithin Coca
June 17, 2016

Global Forest Watch’s new PALM (Prioritizing Areas, Landscapes and Mills) Risk Tool, released by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and freely available through its open-source Global Forest Watch Commodities platform, includes information about over 800 palm oil mills in Southeast Asia, along with regularly updated satellite imagery and spatial data. Using automatic analysis, the tool determines the level of risk that a particular mill is using palm oil from illegally deforested sources, making it a powerful platform for companies to not only better understand their supply chains, but figure out how to mitigate risk and allocate limited resources towards achieving zero-deforestation goals.

“There are some really ambitious commitments, but often there is not great information about how to implement these commitments,” said Sarah Lake, Corporate Engagement Research Analyst for WRI's Global Forest Watch program, to Sustainable Brands. “This tool ... really enables companies to prioritize, in their supply chain, the areas and the suppliers that will allow them to achieve the greatest progress possible with the smallest investment.”

One of the earliest users of the tool is the multinational consumer products giant Unilever, which, back in 2009, committed to using 100 percent sustainable palm oil in their supply chain by 2020. This, of course, is easier said than done, and the company, to its credit, has been working closely with WRI and other civil society organizations to create an achievable path towards this ambitious goal.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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