Acorn shares the impact of RS technology on smallholders at ESA conference

Between October 3rd–5th, the European Space Agency hosted their 2023 Earth Observation for Carbon Markets Forum. Acorn’s use of remote sensing technology was presented to showcase the role of Earth Observation data in bringing carbon benefits to smallholders.

The role of remote sensing technology in carbon markets

The forum brought together different experts from academia, industry, finance, NGOs and government bodies to exchange insights and ideas on harnessing Earth Observation data to enhance transparency and credibility within the carbon market. Acorn’s Head of Remote Sensing, Mila Luleva, hosted a special session on Rabobank’s carbon initiatives, highlighting Acorn’s utilization of remote sensing technology to bring smallholder farmers access to climate finance via the carbon market.

ESA photo recap

Additional Acorn colleagues, Yunchung Kuo (Carbon Policy & Market Development Specialist) and Xi Zhu (Remote Sensing Data Scientist) were present at the forum. At the forum’s poster session, Xi showcased the technical details and scientific foundation of Acorn’s biomass modelling approach.

Learn more about Acorn’s monitoring approach

Reflecting on the conference, Mila shared, “I was overwhelmed by the positive response to the hard work we do at Acorn and Rabo Carbon Bank. It gave me hope and confidence that we are definitely on the right track.”

6 key takeaways

Improving the reliability, accuracy and consistency of Earth Observation data is necessary for the success of carbon markets and greenhouse gas reduction efforts. Experts at the forum exchanged knowledge about EO’s prevailing challenges and opportunities, and identified best practices and innovative solutions. Here are 6 key takeaways from the ESA forum:

  1. Certification bodies must enhance their adaptability and swiftness in updating methodologies to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the Earth Observation sector.

  2. Establishing a consensus on accuracy levels is crucial to bolster overall reliability.

  3. Priority should be given to high-performing methodologies to generate top-quality carbon credits, thus improving the quality of verification and validation datasets.

  4. Ensuring fair compensation and incentive systems for individuals engaged in on-field carbon reduction activities, such as farmers, is crucial to maintain their commitment to transitioning to sustainable practices.

  5. It was evident that carbon emission reduction within the EU remains relatively limited when compared to global-scale activities.

Mila shares one final takeaway point that did not make it to the overall summary, but is highly valued in Acorn: “The female presence and diversity in the EO sector remains very limited. We need to actively encourage more women to get involved in the discussions and give them space to voice proudly their opinions, views and experience.”

About Acorn

We help support smallholder farmers in developing countries transition to agroforestry. Together with local partners, we facilitate the funding and training needed by farmers to start their agroforestry transition. Transforming the sequestered CO2 through agroforestry into Carbon Removal Units (CRUs), we offer carbon credits to responsible corporates to help them reach their climate goals. The growth of the trees is measured with satellite imagery, AI and LiDAR, and certified by ICROA-accredited Plan Vivo.

With 80% of the sales revenue going directly to the farmers, it creates an additional income stream and helps them adopt a more climate-resilient way of farming that improves food security, biodiversity, and financial independence.

Get involved with Acorn

Mila Luleva

Mila LulevaHead of Remote SensingLinkedIn
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