Trust, but verify: reported vs. observed, keeping an objective eye on natural resources production & supply using Earth Observing satellite data analytics
Increased transparency and traceability are key to enabling responsible production, management and indeed investments into mining and metals production and supply chains. To ensure that the vital natural resources that the modern world depends upon are produced, operated and supplied in an ethical, sustainable, socially and environmentally responsible way, thorough due diligence needs to be performed with all of the available data and information to hand – not only prior to a new operation starting but throughout its entire lifecycle and supply chain.
To date the majority of information and data about mining and metals company ESG performance comes from company provided reporting and direct disclosures to regulators, shareholders and other stakeholders, if mandated. But what about truly objective data on the operations and performance of natural resources industries? How can stakeholders cross-check the reporting from companies and verify compliance with ESG codes and best practices? Or indeed, even when no reporting is provided?
Earth Observation satellite imagery and sensing technologies increasingly offer a viable opportunity to provide truly objective and global observations to verify various ESG metrics that are reported by operators. Very much in line with Ronald Reagan’s old adage, ‘trust but verify’ with respect to nuclear disarmament in the 1980s, for which spy satellites played a crucial role.
Dr Gareth Morgan is the chief executive and founder of Terrabotics, a modern Earth Observation data analytics company focused on natural resources sectors. Terrabotics develops and deploys advanced algorithms to make sense of a myriad of raw satellite imagery and sensing data, to provide useful information and insight to shine a light on global natural resources production and supply chains helping operators, stakeholders, shareholders and regulators make better decisions. Dr Morgan founded Terrabotics 6-years ago after an initial career as a satellite image analyst in the oil and gas industry, and previously as a research scientist at the Imperial College Royal School Mines. He now leads an international team of natural resources professionals and data scientists at Terrrabotics.