Rezatec transforms earth observation data from satellite, airborne and ground sources into high-value analytics that reduce the cost of monitoring and verifying land-use change and environmental risk.
Rapid changes in land use, such as converting primary forest into commodity production, account for 10 per cent of global carbon emissions. In order for decision-makers to strike the optimal balance between environmental goals and economic aims, they need accurate, detailed and continuous data on changes in the vital signs of our natural assets. Traditional monitoring methods, however, are incomplete, sporadic, labour-intensive and limited by human capacity or inaccessible terrain.
Rezatec’s platform aggregates large flows of data from satellite, airborne and ground instruments to produce high-value geospatial analytics that substantially bring down the cost of quantifying, monitoring and verifying land-use change and associated environmental risk.
This marriage of remote sensor technology and big data techniques has applications across agri-business, conservation, water management, forestry and policy evaluation – from mapping conservation areas, counting carbon stocks and identifying illegal logging and pollution sources, to identifying tree species and forecasting crop yields.
“It’s a much more holistic picture. You can see when things are changing, and this can help to drive policy and legislation. Rather than hiding behind incomplete and partial data, it’s possible to measure the drivers and impact of legislation,” says Tim Vallings, Rezatec operations director.
Rezatec has also advised clients on the reputational risks associated with previously unknown land-use changes. By providing data over a 20-year period, Rezatec was able to advise a large pharmaceutical company that its plantation had displaced primary forest, and was at risk of being associated with deforestation.
“By being informed, they were able to take some big ethical decisions about the possibility of being associated with deforestation,” says Vallings.
EIT Climate-KIC’s role
EIT Climate-KIC has been instrumental in Rezatec’s development over the last four years, providing vital funding – which enabled the company to launch earlier than expected – and office space in central London.
EIT Climate-KIC also provided business mentoring that helped Rezatec diversify from its initial business proposal, which was based on data for carbon management, into water agriculture and other areas.
Rezatec was invited to become an EIT Climate-KIC partner after graduating from the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme in February 2014, and this has opened the door to further funding and commercial opportunities. “The Climate-KIC community prioritises its partners, so if a larger company has output requirements, a call goes out to the network. This is really helpful,” Vallings says. “Industry can be averse to newcomers. By going in with established partners, you can get around that.”