• Making sense of complex landscapes

    Hats off to Green Alliance for convening a typically topical debate last week asking:  Can earth observation help save the planet?  For many at the event, the answer to that question was an emphatic "yes". As Will Marshall, CEO of Planet Labs, operator of the world's largest fleet of earth observation satellites, said: "if you can see it, you can manage it" .


    However, with new technologies making mountains of data available, the bigger question facing society is this: do we have the systems and capacity to manage all that information?

    Environmentalists are just starting to wake up to the significance of new disruptive technologies and big data to their cause. For those of us who worry about the extent to which humankind is outstripping the natural resources we depend on, it's edifying to think that technological change could be the transformative game-changer that helps to reverse environmental trends. So credit to Ben Caldecott , who inspired the Green Alliance event.   

    Two thoughts struck me:

    1. If you can track multiple, small scale changes in land use that add up to a really positive outcome, then this opens up a new course for individuals and organisations to earn rewards for solutions that offset or avoid the cost of building big infrastructure.
    2. Other technologies have much to offer too. On-the-ground verification and artificial intelligence (AI) enable people and partnerships to innovate with bottom-up solutions.

    There is growing support for the development of systems to restore the resilience of our climate, health and natural capital rather than simply investing in siloed responses to mitigate the effects of how we have managed them. Earth observation gives us another lens through which to observe changes. Ultimately, to make progress, those observations and ideas need to be co-ordinated into actions that can be delivered in an efficient way.

    Hence EnTrade.

    These ideas are central to the EnTrade credo: Creating fair markets and trusted deals to grow natural capital. We've been created through a groundbreaking piece of R&D by Wessex Water and have a well-established proof-of-concept pilot behind us. Through our proprietary operating system and expertise, EnTrade can help to discover the market price for an environmental outcome, like reducing nutrients and pesticides in river courses.

    For example, just before Christmas, we launched the EnTrade app , which is already empowering farmers to upload to the EnTrade platform photos of measures they are taking to improve the environment. Behind it, we have an AI function that will enable us, over time, to recognise what we're seeing and filter out the need for labour-intensive processes to verify the outcomes.

    This is not about replacing the essential interaction between farmers and their peers and trusted advisers. Because solving the environmental problems of our day will require a deep understanding of how to influence human behaviour to inspire and encourage progress. We are here to simplify and verify the transaction between the buyer and seller of an environmental outcome - to enable environmental leaders to increase their scale and reach.

    EnTrade harnesses new technologies to disrupt the silos. Using the power of the market, we help to deliver cost-effective and joined-up environmental restoration - by dealing with the cause of environmental problems rather than the consequences.

    This can in turn help to:

    • break down the information asymmetries that prevent business solutions
    • create a market price for environmental outcomes
    • make environmental solutions simpler and business-sense.

    We are a small start-up with a big vision.

    We are looking for early adopters to take small, credible steps with us to realise that vision.

    We understand that environmental leadership is so often dogged by complexity and inertia.  By thinking differently, we can all adapt our business models to harness technological change and help save the planet at an affordable cost. Come with us on this journey.

    For any queries, please email us at info@entrade.co.uk .

    You can keep up-to-date on our work by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter .