geoFootprint is a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by Quantis in 2018 with aim to merge GIS technology (i.e. satellite imagery) and the life cycle assessment (LCA) framework, into a public web-based platform. It will provide transparent and granular information on the environmental footprint of crop production including farm and upstream activities, displayed though a broad choice of maps and environmental metrics.

Implemented in

  • Africa
  • Asia / Pacific
  • Europe and Central Asia
  • Latin America / Caribbean
  • Middle East
  • North America

Sectors of activity
Agricultural and Fishery, Environmental Services, Food & Beverage

Type of initiative
Research, Analysis, Assessment

Type of lead actor
Scientific and Technical

Start date
01/06/2018

End date
30/06/2020

Shared by

Xavier Bengoa

Sustainability consultant

Quantis

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Objectives

geoFootprint will deliver an 2-Tier online tool. Tier 1 will be public-facing and free. It will provide visual and quantified insight into the environmental footprint of crop production worldwide, displaying multiple layers of land characteristics (cultivated area, soil properties, forest cover loss, yield, productivity) and metrics (carbon footprint, water footprint, eutrophication potential, biodiversity loss, etc.) per hectare and per ton of cultivated crop. It will be fully transparent with regards to its input data sources, assumptions and modelling principles, and will give unprecedented insight into underling drivers for each footprint metric. Typically, end users will be able to visualise how much of a given footprint is related to deforestation, fertiliser use, irrigation or field practices. The user-friendly interface and surrounding narrative aims to democratise public access to footprinting information, raising awareness on key drivers and how these vary geographically. Tier 2 will be decision-maker oriented and licensed, with advanced simulation capacities to help identify and prioritise where action should be taken and farm-level stakeholders involved.

Activities

2018: set up of the geoFootprint network and advisory board and consolidation of the spatial database
2019: development of the footprinting simulation engine and user interface, focusing on greenhouse gas emissions (incl. from deforestation) for 15 key crop commodities
2020: expansion to additional environmental metrics such as water scarcity, water quality, soil heath or biodiversity loss

Impact and Results

geoFootprint has attracted interest from multiple public stakeholders such as FAO, UNEP, SAI Platform, WBCSD, IUCN, World Resources Institute, the French Agency for the Environment and the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture. It is being directly supported by major private corporations from food and agricultural sector such as Nestlé, Unilever, Mars, General Mills, Cargill, Olam, Yara and Syngenta. geoFootprint will be launched in the third quarter of 2020.

Next steps and how to get involved

There are numerous ways to get involved, in testing the platform through pilot case studies or contributing to future developments!