Partnerships

ALUR Highlands Coffee Alliance Project

Over the last 4 years, the ALUR Highlands Coffee Alliance (AHCA) has made a significant investment to support the development of the coffee market in rural northern Uganda. But what has the impact been?

The project works with farmers in an area of low income and high poverty. To date, over 16,000 farmers have been supported. The average age of the farmers is 46, and they have an average of 5 children. To improve the livelihoods of these farmers, the programme has provided extensive training on farming practices. This has included the development of demonstration plots for farmers to learn in a hands-on and visual environment.

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The GeoTraceability System has been used to collect data on the farmers (including GPS coordinates to create a map of their fields, socio-economic data and production data). The System has also been used to record the training delivered to each farmer and the location of the demonstration plots, nurseries and warehouses.

As the project draws to a close, the key activity is to evaluate its success and determine what lessons need to be taken forwards to future projects. As part of this assessment, the GeoTraceability System is being used to re-collect data on 5,000 farmers. The re-collection will include questions asked during the initial data-collection, as well as additional questions to assess the attitude of the farmers. To collect the data, a mobile application is being used, which is able to work off-line in the field where internet access is limited. Field agents then upload the collected data when they return to the programme office. With the data collected it will be possible to clearly see visually the impact of the project initiatives using the GeoTraceability on-line platform.

Another activity currently being undertaken by the project team is to find organisations to continue using the System and existing data once the current project ends later this year. If this is of interest to you, please contact Hannah h.hobden@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

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).

Forming an Alliance with the Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA)

Pierre Courtemanche, GeoTraceability's CEO, and Daniele Giovannucci, COSA's CEO, are pleased to announce that they have signed an Alliance Agreement enabling the organisations to work together, combining their expertise and products for the benefit of their respective customers and partners.

GeoTraceability Ltd. (GeoT) is a UK-based company with offices around the world. The company was founded in 2012 and specialises in large scale data collection and traceability programs adapted to smallholders in developing and emerging countries. GeoTraceability builds trust and transparency throughout supply chains. 

The Committee On Sustainability Assessment (COSA) is a global consortium of institutions dedicated to accelerating the social, economic, and environmental elements of agricultural sustainability. Driven by the conviction that reliable data enables better decision-making and greater accountability, COSA develops indicators, designs tools, and creates solutions to better measure and manage sustainability. COSA's work spans 17 countries and has resulted in the improved sustainability of food crops, coffee, cocoa, and cotton.

Daniele Giovannucci and Pierre Courtemanche explain their new alliance the following way: ‘when we both sat down and discussed about our vision on sustainability and smallholders development and what our respective organisations are doing, it became clear that we had a lot in common and that a combination of our expertise and products could be beneficial.

COSA would benefit from GeoT’s tools and systems to collect, process and host huge quantities of data on smallholders and development programs. For GeoT, COSA will bring valuable insight on the use of metrics and indicators to measure outcomes. In addition we sometimes work with the same organisations and businesses, particularly in the coffee and cocoa sectors.’

COSA and GeoT will now work together to identify concrete opportunities to augment the value they can offer in collecting, processing and analysing data.

For further information please contact Louise Salinas, Operations Manager at COSA (LS@theCOSA.org) or Hannah Hobden, Project Manager at GeoTraceability (h.hobden@geotraceability.com).