Global food and beverage company Nestlé announced today that it will pilot new Pléiades Neo satellites from Airbus for monitoring of its reforestation efforts, with very high-resolution images from the satellites used to help the company ensure that trees that it has planted are thriving over the long-term.

Nestlé announced the adoption of a “forest positive” strategy in 2021, aimed at restoring forests and helping them thrive. As part of the strategy, the company said that it planned to ramp its utilization of satellite monitoring services. In addition to supporting the company’s sustainability efforts in areas including the promotion of sustainable livelihoods and human rights, the strategy forms part of Nestlé’s commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Nestlé has committed to restoring and growing 200 million trees in its sourcing areas by 2030.

Nestlé has been using data from satellite-based service Starling to monitor deforestation in its palm oil supply chain, pulp and paper and cocoa supply chains. With the new announcement, the company will apply a similar approach to its forest restoration and regeneration initiatives.

Magdi Batato, Nestlé’s Executive Vice-President and Head of Operations said:

“Forests are often called Nature Based Solutions because we use nature as a solution to help reduce our emissions. Growing trees close to our sourcing locations is an essential part of our climate roadmap alongside decarbonizing our operations and supply chain. Through our Global Reforestation Program, we aim to plant and grow 200 million trees in our supply chains and sourcing landscapes by 2030. Our goal is to remove 2 million tonnes of CO2e through these projects.”

The pilot project will be applied to Nestlé’s reforestation project in Southern Thailand that has been ongoing since last year, with Pléiades Neo satellites monitoring over 150,000 shade trees in farms where Nestlé sources its coffee. The company said that it will consider whether to expand the approach to other locations based on the experience.

Launched in 2021, Airbus’ Pléiades Neo constellation is comprised of four highly compact, lightweight satellites providing 30cm resolution imaging. The last two satellites, Pléiades Neo 5 and 6, that were expected to join the constellation were lost in December 2022 with the failed launch of Europe’s Vega C rocket.

Karen Florschütz, Airbus Executive Vice-President and Head of Connected Intelligence said:

“Monitoring natural and intentional reforestation has now become as important as monitoring deforestation to restore natural carbon sinks and ensure sustainability. Pléiades Neo, with its 30 cm resolution, highest acquisition capacity and rich spectral configuration, is perfectly suited to follow replanting projects over large and remote areas. We are proud of this new cooperation with Nestlé and want to keep pioneering the development of innovative solutions to address climate change.”

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