Google Cloud and Unilever have announced that they will advance sustainable business practices together using technology to expand the use of data for eco-friendly decision making. As an initial step in this partnership, the two companies are collaborating on the first commercial application of Google Cloud and Google Earth Engine for sustainable commodity sourcing.
By combining the power of cloud computing with satellite imagery and AI, the two companies are building a more holistic view of the forests, water cycles, and biodiversity that intersect Unilever’s supply chain — raising sustainable sourcing standards for suppliers and bringing Unilever closer to its goal of ending deforestation and regenerating nature.
As part of this partnership, Google Cloud and Unilever will work with a broad range of technology partners to build a centralized command center. This will provide a more complete picture of the ecosystems connected to Unilever’s supply chain and create a better mechanism for detecting deforestation—leading to greater accountability — whilst simultaneously prioritizing critical areas of forest and habitats in need of protection.
Unilever, which owns 400+ brands and whose products are used by 2.5 billion people every day, has made sustainability an intrinsic part of its business. The company’s sustainable sourcing initiative, which is initially focused on sustainable palm oil, will be extended to other commodities in the future, directly supporting Unilever’s existing work with other technology partners to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023.
Google Cloud’s planetary-scale geo-spatial platform, including Google Earth Engine, Google Cloud Storage and BigQuery, combines accurate satellite imagery, with the ability to store and make sense of large amounts of complex data. Unilever will use the platform to obtain insights into any impact on sourcing to the environment and local communities, allowing Unilever and its suppliers to take action wherever and whenever it is needed.
Simplifying complex datasets is critical to increasing transparency within supply chains and enabling collaboration across public and private partners. Today, Google Earth Engine is used for planetary-scale image analysis by academic and public institutions, as well as civil society organizations. This first commercial application with Unilever will enable further innovation that can be shared with sourcing partners of all types on a common platform.