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High-Tech Tools Shine a Light on Sustainable Farming

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A satellite image of deforestation in southeast Asia.

Impact investors, who want their money to bring about social and environmental improvement, often have limited tools at their disposal to determine whether companies are meeting their sustainability commitments.

Credit: Satelligence

New technologies aim to make it easier to determine whether companies are honoring their commitments regarding responsible land use, emissions reductions, and human rights.

The U.K. Spatial Finance Initiative, for example, was created to integrate geospatial data and analysis into financial decision-making by having tiny satellites take high-resolution images of every point on the planet on a daily basis, supplementing that with drone footage, and using artificial intelligence to scan and interpret the data.

Meanwhile, the Ex-Ante Carbon-Balance Tool from the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization lets agriculture and forestry companies calculate their total greenhouse gas emissions, using an algorithm that calculates a firm’s net carbon position based on data like water consumption, land use, and conservation activities.

From Financial Times
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