SatSource - SatSource - Integrating Space and Terrestrial Assets for Sustainable Finance

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The SatSource Feasibility Study aims to strengthen impact investment screening, monitoring and evaluation, and corporate and financial reporting on the traceability and sustainability performance of agricultural commodity supply chains. The proposed service supports Banks, Asset Managers, Pension Funds, Development Banks and Institutions, and their clients (e.g. Traders and Consumer Product Manufacturers) using integration of satellite remote sensing technologies, satellite positioning, and other data on supply chain sources. SatSource will enable its clients to make better business decisions, establish trust and reduce their risk.

Financial institutions want to invest more sustainably but lack the tools or capacity to do so. SatSource will provide information that can assist primary users with some of their the key problems:

  • It is difficult to access environmental risk information
  • Lack of capacity or know-how to do analyses
  • Overload of possibly useful input data
  • Lack of available traceability data down to the source

The SatSource service is envisioned as an end-to-end service solution, which includes Earth Observation and ancillary datastreams. The end result is an online information system and platform for supply chain transparency and traceability and risk reporting. The platform should interface with third party platforms.

Users and their needs

The SatSource service targets key Financial Institutions in the financial sector working with agricultural commodity supply chains including Banks, Asset Managers, Pension Funds, Development Banks and Institutions, and their clients (e.g. Producers, Traders and Consumer Product Manufacturers).

With SatSource we collaborate directly with Robeco, Actiam and UNEP. The interest of these organization is getting easy-to-use, actionable and transparent supply chain information at the source, so that they can make sustainable investment decisions.

The organizations have a global focus, but initial focus will be on specific agrocommodities (palm oil in Indonesia, Malaysia, and soy in Latin America). 

Service/ system concept

The user will get information on supply chain risks (e.g. deforestation) through the SatSource service. Satelligence develops, in co-creation with end users, algorithms in combination with AI to determine where the highest portfolio risks are. The user can then make an investment decision or engage with their assets to improve sustainability. 
The secondary users (traders, plantation companies) can make use of the information to tackle the areas of highest risk and improve transparency and sustainability in their supply chain.

The online service at the core of the architecture runs on Google Compute Engine, offering data storage, processing, and linkage to the user interface. The user interface offers simple reporting (graphs and tables) derived from the (geo)data, accessed through a web browser allowing users to either upload their own project/portfolio data, or select available data, and visualise the context of the location of their projects/investees on continuously updated land cover-based performance and risk maps, associated risk insights, and other related georeferenced data.

Image credit: Satelligence, Project: SatSource

Space Added Value

Financial institutions need to assess risks for a portfolio of companies as well as specific investment projects. For most Financial Institutions, understanding of how companies, governments and other actors involved in the trade of agricultural commodities are linked to impacts and opportunities for more sustainable production is very limited.

Big data and geospatial technology has made environmental monitoring cheaper, more accessible and closer to real-time to keep up with the pace of the investment sector. Assessing environmental risk has become easier. Thanks to a shift toward using transparency data in business, Earth Observation at the source, geo-traceability and a new generation of databases and encryption technologies (including blockchain) it has finally become possible for brands to account for every smallholder in their end-to-end supply chains.

The main driver for the use of space assets is the need for independent evidence-based information during monitoring of compliance with sustainability standards and environmental impact frameworks, enhancing field survey information and increasing objectivity.

Current Status

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 16 January 2020 - Created: 16 January 2020