Data Collection

Traceability for Palm Oil now Commercially Available

Over the last two years Geotraceability has been working with the largest names in the palm oil sector to develop a ground-breaking software solution to assist with some of the industry’s key sourcing challenges.

Geotraceability’s purpose is to better integrate small-scale farmers in global supply chains. We do this by providing tools to, improve supplier relationship management, deliver traceability, increase FFB volume and quality for the mill, then, using the same data, we can simultaneously produce individualised Farm Business Plans, to improve smallholder productivity and livelihoods.

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Our approach involves adapting and configuring the Geotraceability system according to your needs and the processes which already exist in your business. We then combine this with our specialist in-house support and training services, to offer cost-effective and scalable solutions for;

 

  • Accurate GPS farm mapping
  • Farmer surveys on mobile Apps

  • FFB supplier quality management & analysis

  • Bespoke FFB traceability systems from field-to-mill

  • Live dashboards with total system synchronisation

  • Tailored productivity improvement plans for growers

Following the completion of a successful prototype, we can now offer this solution at a very attractive commercial rate both for initial set-up and on-going cost.

See the GeoT for palm oil briefing for more information and please get in touch if you’d like to see a demo of the solution or have any questions.

Please also note that Geotraceability will be at the upcoming RSPO EU Roundtable in London, June 12-13th, 2017, and we’d be happy to arrange a meeting with you in person.

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.

Developing a forest encroachment monitoring system: GeoT is partnering with Laval University

Laval University and GeoTraceability will work together to develop a forest encroachment monitoring system adapted to large-scale sourcing operations in developing and emerging countries. 

Deforestation and biodiversity loss are major issues in many supply chains, including palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soya and beef. Pierre Courtemanche, GeoTraceability’s CEO, said, “The system being developed will send automated alerts to our customers when their sourcing areas are at significant risk of deforestation and land use conversion.

"Customers will receive an email or SMS with details of the location and the magnitude of the risk. Digital maps will let customers see exactly where the risk is, allowing them to validate the risk and take action,” Courtemanche explained.

Martin Béland, professor in the Geomatics department at Laval University, said, “The system will be able to monitor medium to large areas covering hundreds to thousands of square kilometers, using the latest technology in remote sensing and data analysis.”

The team from Laval is composed of three professors, a professional researcher and two graduates. They will develop an application to continuously query satellite imagery, which will be used to analyse possible changes and issue alerts.

GeoTraceability will develop the web interface for receiving and displaying the locations and details of alerts. The system will also send notifications to customers and provide ‘validation’ functionalities. GeoTraceability will identify opportunities to test the system with customers in countries where deforestation risk is significant.

The collaboration between GeoTraceability and Laval University is being funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The project is due to last three years. Both organisations are excited about this project and the benefits it will have for users of the system. We look forward to communicating the results of the project in due course.

For further information please contact Steven Ripley (s.ripley@geotraceability.com), Program Manager at GeoTraceability, or Martin Béland (martin.beland@scg.ulaval.ca).

Our Alliance with Borealis: assessing social and environmental impact and engaging supply chain actors

Together, GeoTraceability and Boréalis provide tools for gaining visibility on the social and environmental impact of businesses and addressing challenges around stakeholder engagement at the start of supply chains.

Increasingly, the media and consumers are interested in the social and environmental impact of companies. Investment banks and equity funds are also concerned about possible impacts and want assurance that evaluations are performed and mitigation strategies are available. This is starting to influence commercial decisions, beyond the traditional CSR activities of organisations.

Companies need to understand and manage, their impact on the environment and communities at a local and global level throughout their supply chain. They need to engage with stakeholders in order to secure their supply, protect their brand, and ensure the success of their investments. Initiatives with smallholders / small-scale producers at the start of the supply chain are no exception.

Consideration needs to be given not only to the processes and practices used during an initiative but also the people – how to most effectively interact with, and engage, local communities and individuals. Too often investment is made in gathering supply chain data from smallholders with little consideration as to how to obtain their buy in. This could influence the quality and reliability of the data collected and even threaten the survival of the initiative and the investment.

The value of GeoTraceability and Boréalis working together

Both GeoTraceability and Boréalis are passionate about helping organizations make data-informed decisions. This partnership brings together data on the start of a supply chain with data on broader Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and impact management tools so that clients can report holistically and respond to issues. This will support clients wanting a transparent view of the social impact of their business and an easy mechanism for reporting, monitoring and management.

For Patrick Gregoire, Boréalis CEO, and Pierre Courtemanche, GeoTraceability CEO, working together makes a lot of sense. Our combined expertise and technology will help transforming supply chains into value chains in which all stakeholders will get tangible benefits.

But who are GeoTraceability and Boréalis?

GeoTraceability specialises in large scale data collection and traceability programs adapted to producers and smallholders in developing and emerging countries. GeoTraceability builds trust and transparency throughout supply chains. Since April 2014, GeoTraceability has been a part of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) network of professional services firms.

Boréalis offers a suite of tools and technologies and years of experience to help clients address challenges such as:

o   Community relations- maintaining your social license to operate through successful stakeholder engagement

o   Impact assessment and monitoring – measuring and mitigating social and environmental impacts

o   Land access – successful land access and resettlement on time, within budget

o   Socio-economic contributions – sharing business benefits with the community

o   Governance, risk and compliance – reporting performance and complying with regulations

GeoTraceability and Boréalis look forward to the synergy which can come from combining GeoTraceability’s expertise and tools for data collection and management with smallholders and small scale producers in remote locations, with Boréalis’s stakeholder, community engagement and sustainability management solutions.

For further information, please contact Sarah Busque, Marketing Strategist for Boréalis (sarah.busque@boreal-is.com) or Hannah Hobden, Project Manager, GeoTraceability (h.hobden@geotraceability.com).