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February 24, 2021
Satellites to help safeguard sustainability of palm oil, with launch of UK and Mexico project

UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) and Ecometrica’s Forests 2020 Platform fuel industry initiative

 

Edinburgh/Mexico City – The long-term sustainability of Mexican palm oil production has been given a major boost with the announcement that FEMEXPALMA, the association of Mexican palm oil producers, will use satellites to monitor and safeguard sustainable land use practices, including the protection of forests and biodiversity.

Global palm oil production reached record heights in 2020, but concerns remain over its environmental, economic and social impact. As part of its commitment to promote effective climate action, the UK finances and supports local projects with global impact.

The move by FEMEXPALMA follows the UK Space Agency’s internationally renowned Forests 2020 project, run by Ecometrica, a leading environmental monitoring company, which has been working with Mexican institutions to improve their forest and agricultural monitoring, using satellites.

Harnessing insights from this project and mapping data from Mexico’s Federal research institution El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), the FEMEXPALMA monitoring system will be deployed on Ecometrica’s mapping platform and supported by in-country technicians at Frontierra.

José Luis Pérez Vázquez Aldana, Executive President of FEMEXPALMA, said: “We are firmly committed to developing a sustainable palm oil industry in Mexico, while protecting our forests and biodiversity. Working with key partners to create an effective monitoring system – underpinned by a world-leading technology platform – we believe we are in strong position to grow our industry, in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.”

Liz Cox, IPP Head of International Relations at UKSA, explained: “The move by FEMEXPALMA is a testament to the success of the Forests 2020 programme and the longer-term role of advanced earth observation in monitoring deforestation. From a commercial perspective, the initiative will help producers address the heightened focus of importers and consumers of products to the UK, to demonstrate that they have not been associated with deforestation.”

Sarah Middlemiss, space programme manager at Ecometrica, concluded: “Working with FEMEXPALMA strengthens our long-term commitment to working with partners in Mexico and across Latin America, paving the way for other palm oil growers to monitor their commitments to sustainable production. It complements our continued partnership with the National Forestry Commission in Mexico, CONAFOR, who uses the Ecometrica Platform to monitor change in national forest cover and the potential impact of national agricultural subsidies.”

Projects currently supported by the International Partnership Programme (IPP) covers a range of issues, including the development of climate and natural disaster resilience, improving agriculture, reducing deforestation, preventing and reducing maritime pollution and illegal fishing, optimising production of renewable energy and improving access to financial services that are adequate and affordable.

About Ecometrica

Ecometrica, the downstream space and sustainability company, turns the vast and growing streams of observation data from space, air and land into actionable insights for business, government and society.

A leading provider of sustainability and earth observation services, its satellite mapping technology is being used to protect 300 million hectares of tropical forests as part of the Forests 2020 project, which Ecometrica is spearheading on behalf of the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP).

The Ecometrica Platform, a web-based accounting and sustainability management solution, combines earth observation data from satellites with local information and business intelligence, to bring clarity to environmental and natural resource challenges facing corporates and governments alike. It helps businesses to easily track and map their impact

 

About the UKSA IPP:

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) is a five-year, £30 million per year initiative designed to utilise the UK space sector’s research and innovation strengths to deliver measurable and sustainable economic, societal and/or environmental benefits to developing countries. Projects within IPP span a variety of themes, including building climate/disaster resilience; improving agriculture; reducing deforestation; preventing and reducing maritime pollution and illegal fishing; optimising renewable energy production; and improving access to appropriate and affordable financial services.

IPP is funded from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This £1.5 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) fund supports cutting-edge research and innovation on global issues affecting developing countries. ODA-funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote long-term sustainable development and growth in countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list. IPP is ODA compliant, being delivered in alignment with UK Aid Strategy and the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

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