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Looking to space to help solve some of Earth’s most pressing problems

It’s not every day that minds from across the globe come together to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, using space technologies and data.

But that’s exactly why we created Gravity Challenge.

By creating a coalition of organizations including startups, technology providers and pioneering clients, we’re helping to crack difficult challenges across society, industry and the environment. Originating in Australia and in its first year in the UK, Gravity Challenge helps our innovators solve real-world problems in new ways – using space technologies like satellite communications, high-resolution satellite imagery, and other geospatial datasets. Space technologies offer potential for solving challenges across a variety of industries – from helping financial services organizations to better detect fraud, to enabling air ambulance crew to make more accurate decisions using satellite and mobile data

For this round of Gravity Challenge, we’ve been focusing specifically on an issue that impacts us all – climate change. Our planet is facing a critical moment in its changing climate, and the UK government has pledged to transition towards net zero agriculture emissions by 2040, while still producing enough nutritious food to feed a growing population. It’s an ambitious target and tracking our progress against that target will require accurate measurement and monitoring of carbon consistently around the world

One of the organizations we’re working with this year to address this challenge is Bardsley England, a fruit farming business. Given orchards are natural storage places for carbon, Bardsley want to maximise the ways in which their orchards can have a positive environmental impact. As a first step, they want to find out how much carbon is stored in their orchards. From this baseline they want to increase the carbon stored in the orchards year-on-year to be able to run carbon neutral operations and support carbon drawdown, helping in the fight against climate change. Working with Treeconomy, this collaboration seeks to combine Light Detection and Ranging data with satellite data, to allow for the remote measurement of carbon, as well as sequestration and emissions.

Given the focus of this particular challenge, the team is also being supported by our specialist Climate Change & Environment Studio within Deloitte Ventures.

“With COVID-19 causing a squeeze on budgets for technology experimentation, Gravity Challenge presents our clients with an amazing opportunity – to continue focusing on tackling climate change, whilst also de-risking the innovation process through exciting and collaborative ecosystems. Climate change is not on pause, and we must continue to accelerate innovation and solutions that serve both people and planet.”

-Siobhan Gardiner, Climate Change and Environment Studio lead at Deloitte Ventures.

Deloitte Ventures