A worker at a palm oil plantation handles newly harvested fruits, in Agusan del Sur province, southern Philippines (Photo: Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)
An eye in the sky may help big consumer-goods companies make good on promises to eliminate deforestation from their palm oil supply chains.
The new online tool, called PALM Risk, uses satellite data from Global Forest Watch to identify which of the world’s 800 palm oil mills in Malaysia, Indonesia, Africa, and South America are likely to drive forest loss.
“Palm oil has to be processed quickly, within 24 hours of being harvested,” said Sarah Lake, interim manager for Global Forest Watch Communities at the World Resources Institute, which created PALM Risk. That means that all palm oil mills source their materials from plantations within a day’s drive of their locations.