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Built with BigQuery: Sustainable supply chains start with a data sharing ecosystem

Editor’s note: The post is part of a series showcasing our partners, and their solutions, that are Built with BigQuery.

In the time it takes to read this sentence, around five football fields of forest will be lost to deforestation globally. Despite growing concerns from companies, communities, and regulators, global deforestation is still responsible for millions of hectares of forest being destroyed every year. In 2022, the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) bill was passed, banning imports of raw materials linked to deforestation and establishing more transparency over supply chains by verifying sourcing footprints. Now, the burden of proof has shifted to consumer packaged goods companies to verify that the raw materials they source from suppliers are deforestation free and not just from certified sources. This includes commodities like palm oil, cocoa, soy, coffee, wood, rubber, beef, and leather. 

The key requirements for operators is to establish a diligence process that addresses:

Supply chain mapping: collecting data from producers and traders that enables first mile verification of the sourcing footprints.

Risk assessment: using satellite imagery and supply chain mapping data to identify cases of deforestation.

Risk mitigation: mitigating instances of more than negligible risk of non compliance.

TraceMark is a sustainable sourcing monitoring platform powered by Google Cloud, designed to give enterprises greater transparency into global supply chains to meet sustainability commitments to the sourcing of raw materials. The powerful earth observation analytics provided by TraceMark, including deforestation, reforestation, estimates of carbon, and land use change, is delivered through an advanced data sharing ecosystem that facilitates automated, transparent and consistent exchange of supply chain data to optimize supplier mapping.

Companies with global supply chains are struggling to gain real-time visibility into operations at a global scale and access accurate information on the sourcing of raw materials. And each of the key requirements set out by the EUDR comes with its own challenges:

Supply chain mapping documentation is often limited and inconsistent across suppliers.

Risk assessment is difficult as independent validation can’t scale across global networks.

Risk mitigation is delayed without active supplier engagement or real-time reporting.

Many organizations that are currently using certification as a means of generating deforestation free claims must now extend into footprint level verification activities. To be able to accurately monitor, verify and report on deforestation across global supply chains, manufacturers will need to build their supply chain traceability through direct engagement with suppliers.

However, the capability to deliver two way engagement between organizations and their suppliers is a major challenge for sustainable sourcing teams globally. The main barriers include:

A lack of control over how supplier data is shared and used

Inconsistent data and approaches used to generate key metrics

Batch exports resulting in out of date data

The inability to facilitate two way conversations between manufacturers and suppliers

A lack of automation and scale with sharing data across many suppliers and manufacturers

These barriers make it difficult for organizations to build out their supply chain maps effectively, and in many instances, requires these organizations to be creative with their traceability approaches.

TraceMark is designed for the future of sustainable supply chains where data can be seamlessly shared between organizations and suppliers in a consistent, automated and controlled way that will ultimately reduce barriers, improve reporting accuracy and timeliness, optimize traceability, and simplify security by keeping the data within the TraceMark platform. 

Through TraceMark, Google Cloud and NGIS are leveraging Analytics Hub to enable global organizations to securely exchange first mile sourcing data with their suppliers through an automated and managed data sharing ecosystem. Analytics Hub addresses the technical barriers with facilitating a data sharing ecosystem in the sourcing of raw materials. The data exchange platform enables organizations to share data and insights at any scale across boundaries with a robust security and privacy framework — while enhancing analysis with commercial, public, and Google datasets through a marketplace. 

To enable suppliers and operators to share supply chain data, TraceMark provides a custom user interface, on top of Analytics Hub, designed to create a simplified and seamless end-to-end experience for sharing data easily and securely.

This ecosystem approach will not only enable global companies to address deforestation regulation, but it will also provide the foundation to expand into more accurate emissions reporting through the seamless integration of stakeholder-specific data. Where organizations are currently estimating indirect greenhouse gas emissions, they will be able to increase the accuracy and consistency of these assessments by leveraging footprint data from the source. 

For example, there are a number of other regulation advancements for sustainable supply chains including:

The Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, introduced in the state of New York, will require greater transparency and reporting by fashion businesses

The French Climate and Resilience Law includes mandatory environmental labeling for products

The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act imposes extensive new obligations on companies with regard to human rights along the supply chain

With TraceMark providing planetary-scale first-mile supply chain monitoring, and the data sharing ecosystem facilitated through Analytics Hub delivering the ability to build and evolve supply chain mapping, enterprises can combine data sources and have a bidirectional approach to sustainability.

Together, TraceMark and Google Cloud are helping brands gain a deeper understanding of sustainable sourcing practices across supplier networks, helping them get real-time, reliable information into operations at a local supplier level, globally. Google’s recent 2023 Environmental Report highlighted how we’re helping Unilever build a more holistic view of the forests, water cycles, and biodiversity that intersect its supply chain.

Better together: TraceMark and BigQuery

TraceMark could really only be built with Google technology — it’s a 100% Google Cloud solution that delivers global sustainability monitoring through Google’s next-generation geospatial tools in Earth Engine, BigQuery and Google Maps. It leverages over 80 petabytes of satellite data to detect deforestation, changes in land-use, estimates of carbon and other data points used by organizations to report on their corporate commitments to sustainability. The use of geospatial capabilities is key to being able to layer multiple sources of data against organization-specific supply chains.

With the use of truly unique geospatial technology in Google Earth Engine and Google Maps, NGIS has been able to unlock petabytes of earth observation data about our changing planet to provide first mile deforestation analytics in through TraceMark.

To deliver the traceability and transparency required for the monitoring of raw materials, TraceMark has implemented a multi commodity data model through Google Data and AI Cloud for Supply Chain. This data sharing ecosystem is built with Google Analytics hub, delivering the capability to efficiently and securely share data assets across organizations and build complex supply chains with traceability from factory to footprint.

And the final piece of the puzzle is the Google Cloud Ready – Sustainability program. This initiative connects organizations with significant sustainability commitments to the data-rich solutions that help reduce their carbon footprints. This program has provided a spotlight for TraceMark and other Google Cloud partner solutions to help global businesses and governments accelerate their sustainability programs.

To continue exploring Tracemark, visit the website here

The Built with BigQuery advantage for ISVs and data providers

Google is helping companies like NGIS build innovative applications on Google’s data cloud with simplified access to technology, helpful and dedicated engineering support, and joint go-to-market programs through the Built with BigQuery initiative. Participating companies can: 

Accelerate product design and architecture through access to designated experts who can provide insight into key use cases, architectural patterns, and best practices. 

Amplify success with joint marketing programs to drive awareness, generate demand, and increase adoption.

BigQuery gives ISVs the advantage of a powerful, highly scalable data warehouse that’s integrated with Google Cloud’s open, secure, sustainable platform. And with a huge partner ecosystem and support for multi-cloud, open source tools and APIs, Google provides technology companies the portability and extensibility they need to avoid data lock-in.

Click here to learn more about Built with BigQuery.

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