GeoTraceability has begun tracing 3T minerals in the DRC

Quebec City, 30 November 2016 - GeoTraceability has launched a groundbreaking traceability project for the artisanal mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – delivering real-time data to support the delivery of conflict-free minerals to the global market.

The new system traces minerals from individual mine sites in the Maniema Province in the eastern part of the DRC to the point of export. Using a cloud-based database, information can be monitored in real-time.

Important for the industry, the traceability system has been adapted to allow stakeholders to comply with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and the Chain of Custody requirements from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism which itself is compliant with the OECD guidance. Deployment of the GeoTraceability system also supports information sharing with other initiatives, including the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative’s (CFSI) Conflict-Free Smelter audit program.

Momen Elleuch, Project Manager for GeoTraceability, commented: “The availability of our system will provide a much-needed option for advanced traceability services in the mining and minerals trade sector, increasing the amount of choice for local operators - a critical component of a healthy market place.”

GeoTraceability’s traceability system is implemented in combination with the Better Sourcing Program (BSP), which provides due diligence and assurance that the minerals being traced are sourced conflict-free. BSP complements the traceability system by digitally reporting real-time information on incidents and risks along the supply chain and delivering effective capacity building in support of upstream stakeholders.

Additionally, as part of this project, BSP aims to create alternative economic opportunities for women and other vulnerable community members based in communities surrounding the pilot mining areas. BSP’s support mechanism also offers an opportunity to expand better-controlled artisanal mining activities. This has the potential to increase tax incomes for the Maniema Provincial Government, and subsequently raise the level of local investment.

According to BSP’s Project Manager in DRC, Robert Bitumba: “The Maniema province is free of conflict and offers great opportunities for the procurement of minerals”. Beyond compliance, Bitumba sees great value in electronic traceability: “It has the potential to restore the confidence of international buyers and investors by providing more transparent access to information on local artisanal mining circumstances.”

Bitumba concluded: “For peace to last and communities to thrive, international partners must engage and develop economic opportunities.”

For this pilot project, specific BSP-supported mines were selected to create a closed-pipe supply chain for testing these advanced traceability and due diligence options. This was done in collaboration with exporter Belair African Metals.

Lance Hooper, CEO of Belair commented: “GeoTraceability provides us with data collection and data sharing systems which support us in meeting our conflict free traceability obligations. Their intuitive cloud-based platform streamlines data sharing with all downstream participants in the mineral supply chain.”

“Beyond capturing data related to traceability,” Hooper continued, “GeoTraceability's system also provides the flexibility to collect additional information that will assist with the geological understanding of our tin and tantalum concessions in Maniema.”

The pilot project has been made possible with support from the International Organization for Migration and USAID/DRC as part of the USAID-funded Responsible Minerals Trade Program.

About BSP
Better Sourcing Program (Better Sourcing, BSP) is an independent mineral supply chain support program providing a framework for sustainable procurement of mineral resources from Central Africa. BSP’s core objective is to stimulate procurement from, and associated investment in areas where mining could significantly contribute to local development, by ensuring compliance of these minerals with regulation- and reputation-driven expectations from international stakeholders. BSP implementation involves strict operationalization of the OECD due diligence guidelines, conformance of Better Sourcing supply chains to smelter-level audit expectations such as the Conflict-Free Smelter Program (CFSP) Audit Protocol, and compliance with ICGLR certification standards.

For more information, go to: www.bsp-assurance.com

About Belair
Belair Maniema Corp. is a private Canadian company focused on tin, tantalum and tungsten (3T) projects in Africa.  The company has a 100% interest in Belair African Metals sarl, a commodity trading platform that specializes in sourcing conflict free minerals from qualified artisanal and small-scale mine sites.  The company also has a 65% joint venture interest in Belair Maniema sarl which holds 3T mineral concessions in Maniema province, Democratic Republic of Congo.

For more information, go to: www.belair.cd

About GeoTraceability
GeoTraceability is a market innovator in providing technology solutions to enhance supply chain visibility and transparency. GeoTraceability can be defined as the ability to link geographical information to traceability information, all along value and supply chains. GeoTraceability is currently operational in Africa, Asia and Latin America providing data collection and traceability solutions in multiple commodities.

For more information, go to: www.geotraceability.com

Media Contacts
Hélène Helbig de Balzac, Program Manager, BSP, helene@bsp-assurance.com 
Lance Hooper, CEO, Belair, lance@belair.cd 
Chelsea Bruce Lockhart, Communications Strategist, GeoTraceability, c.brucelockhart@geotraceability.com

Innovative Smallholder Fresh Fruit Bunch Traceability System Improves Palm Oil Supply Chain Transparency

Canada, 8 November 2016 - GeoTraceability, Wilmar International Limited (Wilmar) and Wild Asia announced today that the first phase in the development of a new smallholder traceability system is successfully completed. The new system enables mills to map their smallholder supply base and trace smallholder fresh fruit bunch (FFB) deliveries from the mills back to their farms. A key innovation in this project is the ability to provide smallholders with agronomic recommendations from mills and supporting organisations for increasing productivity, as part of their participation in the traceability system.

This project, supported by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), is currently piloted in Wilmar’s Sapi Plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. The ability to trace smallholder FFB supply is critical to Wilmar in ensuring compliance by its third-party mill suppliers, and their independent smallholder suppliers with its No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation policy. Since July 2016, more than 90% of the smallholder supply base of the mill has been surveyed and mapped, with 1,400 traceable deliveries of smallholder FFB recorded. The next steps in the project are to roll out the system to an additional Wilmar-owned mill as well as a third-party supplier mill, both in Sabah.

Jeremy Goon, Wilmar’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said, “Smallholders are a key stakeholder group in our pursuit of a sustainable and transparent supply chain. We have committed substantial resources to empowering smallholders to improve their livelihoods and to ensure they share in the benefits of oil palm development.

"Our collaboration with GeoTraceability and Wild Asia to develop this smallholder specific traceability tool is a win-win for the industry and smallholders.

"Benefiting from agronomic expertise is an important incentive that will further strengthen sustainability take-up amongst smallholder producers. We hope this tool can help facilitate the traceability agenda of our external mill suppliers and the wider industry.”

Dr. Reza Azmi, Executive Director and Founder at Wild Asia said, “Our Wild Asia Group Scheme (WAGS) is a programme to promote traceability and better production among groups of small independent palm oil producers. Systematic, electronic data on the small producers means that we can accelerate our work, and that our agronomists can deliver individualised support to our group members.

"More importantly, we want to be able to empower local producers with tools that can provide meaningful insights to their own production data.”

Pierre Courtemanche, Chief Executive Officer at GeoTraceability, said, “Our software and training is designed to support mills, NGOs, development agencies and Governments in better delivery of support to smallholders. This combination of tools supports a ‘New Deal’ for farmers: allow us to use your data to improve transparency and you’ll receive improved support services.”

GeoTraceability’s Digital Agronomist is a new software technology which allows the delivery of agronomists’ expertise to each individual smallholder farmer, and his or her fields. The agronomic recommendations for increasing smallholder productivity are compiled in individual “Farm Business Plans”, which can be further supported with field-input credit, training and ultimately Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Group certification. This package of opportunities to improve productivity and profitability for smallholder farmers presents a compelling alternative path to the farm expansion model.

IDH has been working with industry actors to coordinate and accelerate progress on traceability since 2014 and is supporting platforms such as GeoTraceability as critical innovations on the path to sustainability. IDH is supporting the project financially and has informed project design with the objective of maximising lessons learned that may be of value to the wider industry.


ABOUT WILMAR’S SUSTAINABILITY

As a leading agribusiness group, Wilmar recognises we have a fundamental role to play in developing quality products required by the world while ensuring a responsible and sustainable manner of production. We adopt a holistic approach to sustainability that is fully integrated with our business model. Guided by the philosophy that our business must enhance stakeholder value while minimising our environmental footprint, our business practices are aligned with universally acceptable social and environmental standards. Wilmar’s No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation policy underpins our aspiration to make a positive impact and drive transformation across the palm oil industry.   

For more information, go to www.wilmar-international.com/sustainability.

ABOUT WAGS

WAGS (Wild Asia Group Scheme) is an initiative of social enterprise Wild Asia. As a methodology, it has been developed from the ground-up, to addresses the challenges of traceability in the palm oil supply chain, to understand the challenges palm oil suppliers face to meet “zero deforestation” commitments and challenges of small producers in enhancing their productivity and best management practices. Visit http://oilpalm.wildasia.org/small-producers/wags/ for more information.

ABOUT IDH

IDH convenes companies, CSOs, governments and others in public-private partnerships. Driving the joint design, co-funding and prototyping of economically viable approaches to realize green and inclusive growth at scale in commodity sectors and sourcing areas. Approaches are designed to drive sustainability from niche to norm, delivering impact on the Sustainable Development Goals. Impact focuses on deforestation, living incomes and living wages, working conditions, responsible agrochemicals management, and gender. IDH is supported by multiple European governments, including institutional donors: SECO, DANIDA and BUZA and over 500 companies, CSOs, financial institutions, producer organizations and governments in 11 sectors and 11 landscapes in over 50 countries worldwide. www.idhsustainabletrade.com

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

GeoTraceability: Steven Ripley, Head of Palm Oil, s.ripley@geotraceability.com

Wilmar International Limited: Iris Chan, Corporate Communications,  iris.chan@wilmar.com.sg

Wild Asia: Smita Jairam, Technical Manager, smita@wildasia.org 

IDH: Reuben Blackie, Program Manager,  blackie@idhsustainabletrade.com

The 14th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil

GeoTraceability will be at the 14th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil, 7-10 November, 2016, Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand.

Pierre Courtemanche, GeoTraceability’s CEO, will be one of the speakers on November 8 taking part in Preparatory Cluster 2 discussing ‘How Legal and Traceable are your Palm Fresh Fruit Bunches?’.

CLEARED LAND, EAST SABBAH

This will be an opportunity to brief the participants on the progress made by GeoTraceability and its partners Wilmar and Wild Asia on the implementation of an industry first FFB traceability system in Beluran, Sabah State, Malaysia.  This project supported by the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) aims to collect and use digital data on smallholder producers to engage with them, trace their supply and support them to improve their productivity.

Pierre will use this case study to explain how appropriate technology can help engaging smallholder producers in complex supply chains.

To learn more, consult this web site at: http://www.rt14.rspo.org/

Our survey tools can be ready to use in just 30 minutes

GeoTraceability can now develop the tools needed to carry out a survey in just 30 minutes. Why are we so excited about this and what does it mean for our customers? 

Inspired by the Rio’s Olympics, GeoTraceability’s IT team has taken only 30 minutes to activate a field survey on smallholders. Our previous record was over 24 hours!

First what do we mean by a field survey? A field survey lists the data you want to gather on smallholders and their production. This data could include information on a person’s education, sources of income, the agricultural practices they adopt, their opinions – whatever you need. We’re talking about hundreds to thousands entry points per survey multiplied by the number of smallholders reached.

There are different steps required to set up a field survey. It starts with setting a clear vision of why you are collecting the data and what you want to be able to do with it. Based on this, the questions and possible answer options are established. Minimum and maximum values are also set for numeric answer options to provide a level of validation for the data being collected. This part of the processes is usually iterative. Once the questionnaires are available, this is what we do:

  1. Create a web account, a project and its associated geographical ‘levels’.
  2. Upload and process the questions, possible answers, their attributes and formats (mandatory or not, value, date, number, text, choices, range…).
  3. Prepare the database to receive, validate, process and load the data and activate the ‘workers’ managing these tasks.
  4. Set up the ‘APIs’ that links the different data sources and synchronise them.
  5. Build the web pages with their query and analytical functions that will allow data visualisation and analysis.
  6. Upload the survey forms to mobile devices used to collect the data.
  7. Synchronize the web database with the mobile devices for data upload.

It took 30 minutes to complete the steps above. In less then an hour, the mobile devices were ready to gather and upload data, and our Web Platform was showing the results. 

This process is fully automated meaning we offer an almost immediate, cutting edge and low cost technology to gather field data, securely host it on the Cloud and provide powerful analytic tools to use it and share it. Our advice: don’t rely on Excel anymore for your data collection projects, however big or small?

Contact us at info@geotraceability.com if you want to learn more about our technologies and improve the efficiency of your data gathering processes.

200,000 Hectares Mapped using GeoTraceability's Tools

GeoTraceability has reached a significant milestone. We now host information for over 200,000 hectares of farmland spread over 14 countries. The benefiters of this data? So far, these include consumer goods companies, retailers, researchers, NGO’s, supply chain managers and smallholder producers.

200,000 hectares is a huge amount of space. In fact, it’s 1.3 times the size of Delhi, three times the size of Jakarta and 19 times the size of Paris. This space is managed by almost as many farmers (nearly 180,000) - farmers who are based in developing nations, many of whom rely on a small proportion of land to provide for themselves and their families.

Pierre Courtemanche, GeoTraceability’s CEO, dreams that the basic information gathered by clients on each hectare will be transformed into a personalised GeoT Farm Business Plan to improve the farmer’s productivity. “Imagine what would happen if all these farms, managed by smallholder farmers, had a genuine and tailored Farm Business Plan to increase productivity. A plan with technical recommendations supported by forecasted figures on costs and revenues. This would be a huge step in professionalising the farmers, making them bankable and improving smallholder livelihoods”. This dream is now becoming a reality with the first release and testing of the Farm Business Plan Builder

Having access to information on smallholders, and the land they manage, allows other supply chain actors to (a) be better connected to the producers and (b) better understand the context in which the producers live and work.  In turn, this can help organisations to make better informed decisions on how to improve their supply base and tailor any support they provide to their producers.

Want an example of data, collected using GeoTraceability’s technologies, which has had a significant impact on smallholder farmers?

When the Carana Corporation began its Cocoa Development Project in Peru, the quantity of fertiliser it aimed to deliver to a farmer was determined by the farmer’s estimate of his field size.  But, once Carana had mapped the farmer’s cocoa fields using GeoTraceability’s GIS mapping tools, staff could deliver a much more accurate quantity of fertiliser to the farmers engaged in the programme.  As it turns out, the farmer’s declarations were well above the actual measured area of land.  The new data therefore encouraged them to reduce the amount of money they spent on fertilisers, allowing them to either save or invest these funds elsewhere.

So the question is: if you knew more about your producers, could you do more to help?

If you’re interested in learning more about GeoTraceability’s products and services, please contact us at info@geotraceability.com.