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The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded funding to the groundbreaking project, Space2CLIMB, poised to explore the feasibility of a product that will support the financial services sector through innovative biodiversity analytics.

Led by GlobalTrust, in collaboration with Ecogain (renowned for its expertise in biodiversity preservation), Space2CLIMB is set to pioneer a groundbreaking service at the intersection of environmental sustainability and financial decision-making.

Space2CLIMB LogoSpace2CLIMB’s core objective is to explore the power of EO data and biodiversity insights to develop a comprehensive biodiversity service tailored specifically for the financial sector. By integrating GlobalTrust’s unparalleled proficiency in EO data analytics with Ecogain’s deep understanding of biodiversity, the project aims to deliver actionable intelligence that empowers financial institutions to make informed decisions to mitigate risks and support the green transition.

The Space2CLIMB project seeks to drive progress towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 15 on Life on Land.  Life on Land, and also to align with The Biodiversity Plan, resulting from the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The project’s length spans over nine months, where stakeholders of the financial sector are giving the model development team their insights of the gap between the current environmental sustainability work and the expected, in order to mitigate risks and promote opportunities while reversing the negative trend of biodiversity loss.

 

Space2CLIMB focuses on the financial service sector, specifically the investor community and the (re)insurance community, the largest actors concerned with the long-term impact of large corporate portfolios on biodiversity.

The project aims to provide finance industry reporting frameworks and intelligence for informed decisions, while also targeting corporates struggling to report about themselves and their supply chains.

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The key customer segments targeted are:

  • Investment banking and investment funds: interested in understanding how a potential investment may both affect and be affected by nature.
  • Credit institutes: interested in understanding nature-related risks in land areas where they are considering granting a loan.
  • (Re)Insurance companies: interested in understanding at what cost and to what risk a specific company can be insured, related to nature risk and natural disasters.
  • Consultancies: These could be generalist organisations assisting financial service clients with overall business risk and strategy.
  • Major transnational companies: they need to prove secure sourcing with as little negative impact on nature as possible and also turn towards becoming net positive.
  • Bio-credit providers: they have the need to measure biodiversity within a specific area to provide the different markets with KPIs that value nature and the state of nature.

The consortium is creating a tool that can provide users with a rapid and cost-effective assessment and valuation of biodiversity for targeted sites. This service also seeks to permit an increased/enhanced compliance with existing and arriving legislation on biodiversity risk/impact from both the corporate and investor sides where there are few scalable solutions in the market.

Investors and insurance companies will have greater visibility of the risks that their portfolios represent and will be able to compare one target company (and its supply chains) with another in terms of biodiversity impact, therefore enabling better operational decisions.

The work process involves the integration of Earth Observation data from external suppliers, both open and commercial, as well as ground-based data sets provided by Ecogain and third parties.

GlobalTrust is responsible for processing the environmental parameters derived from the Earth Observation and ground-based data. Meanwhile, Ecogain takes these environmental parameters and converts them into biodiversity metrics.

Once the data has been processed and converted, GlobalTrust and Ecogain collaborate to create a service dissemination function. This function is designed to deliver the processed data and biodiversity metrics to the project user group, which consists of eight entities.

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Earth Observation is the primary space technology used in this project. Due to the wide range of possible targets that the financial services sector may be interested in assessing, the services shall draw from all possible EO sensor types, optical, thermal, hyperspectral, radar and atmospheric monitoring, depending on the specific target location, land cover, specific potential challenges and potentially cost. In some cases, space-based EO are combined with in situ sensors e.g., audio sensors, water quality sensors etc, which in some remote locations might rely upon satellite communications for data back-haul.

Satellite technology offers a cost-effective means for global data acquisition and continuous monitoring of target sites, enabling financial services to gather vital insights regardless of geographical boundaries and making the process economically feasible. Automation through satellite monitoring alleviates the impracticality of manual surveillance, especially when numerous targets require continuous assessment for multiple service customers. Satellite measurements ensure consistency, repeatability, and independence from ground biases, fostering trust in the accuracy and objectivity of the acquired information.

In contrast to conventional methods, the integration of space assets optimises efficiency, accessibility, and reliability, empowering the financial services sector with unparalleled insights and decision-making capabilities.