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Nestlé confirms plans to utilise satellites to track palm oil plantations for deforestation

Swiss-based transnational food and drink company, Nestlé, has announced it is set to utilise satellites to monitor palm oil plantations for signs of deforestation in a bid to accelerate its commitment to more sustainable ingredient sourcing, Reuters reports.

The technology, which has been called Starling, has been developed by Airbus and non-profit group the Forest Trust to act as a verification system that uses radar and satellite imagery in order to monitor forest cover changes in nearly real-time.

The vegetable oil used in confectionery and other goods, palm oil, has received criticism due to the environmental impact of clearing forests to make room for plantations.

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This year, Nestlé confirmed to have 100% of its palm oil certified by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil by 2023, while also making the promise in 2010 to clear deforestation from its supply chain by 2020.

It is anticipated that by the end of 2018, all land that supplies the firm with palm oil will be covered by Starling.

It has also been revealed that Nestlé is planning to use the technology in areas that supply pulp and paper.