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Tracing the environmental impacts of supply chains

11 September 2019

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Globalisation and international trade allow us to consume produce from all over the world. But this comes at a cost to the environment – but, for the first time, satellite data combined with artificial intelligence is being usedtoprovide information to assess the impact of global supply chains.

The production of food and other resources is increasingly associated with issues such as deforestation and the loss of biodiversity in places thousands of kilometres away from where the end product is finally consumed or used.

While progress has been made to understand the changing structures of supply chains, and to calculate the accumulated environmental impacts – from where agricultural products are harvested and mineral resources are extracted all the way to final consumption. However, existing models are limited to a national level – hindering the accurate calculation of global impacts.

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