Innovation That Matters

Carble hopes to reduce coffee's carbon footprint and poverty in one programme | Photo source Carble

Startup rewards coffee farmers for maintaining forests

Agriculture & Energy

AI examines satellite imagery to calculate the amount of carbon each farmer sequesters

Spotted: It is estimated that 14 per cent of all deforestation is driven by consumption in the world’s wealthiest countries of imported products such as beef, cocoa, and coffee. But, by providing smallholder farmers with a premium price for their coffee based on the amount of ecologically diverse native forest they protect, Dutch startup Carble hopes to combat deforestation. The company is piloting its technology across smallholdings in Ethiopia’s Guji Zone. Working with satellite experts Satelligence, Carble’s artificial intelligence (AI) measures the amount of carbon sequestered in each farm’s land.

Many organic, small-scale farms grow coffee in the shade of existing forests. With no chemicals used on the coffee, the quality is premium – something that Carble wants to reflect more fairly in the rates paid to the farmers. Carble’s platform brings together producers, buyers, and big-name retailers, encouraging increased transparency in supply chains.

Designed to be easily scalable, Carble’s measurements rely on low-cost and high-resolution Earth Observation data sources from NASA. And as important as the environmental improvements are, so too are the economic boosts received by farmers. Carble also tracks the income of participating farmers.

The company recently raised €300,000, which will go towards its 2023 plans to expand geographic coverage as well as the size of farms that can participate. Working with other roles in the coffee supply chain, including roasters, importers, and exporters, is also part of the business’ expansion plan.

Coffee is a large market, providing crucial income to a variety of communities around the world. Innovators are looking for ways to help growers and the environment. Recent innovations spotted by Springwise include an online platform that connects sustainable farmers with buyers, and a renewable-energy-powered production process that rewards farmers for maintaining forests.

Written By Keely Khoury



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