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Space data on a plate for food supply chain – matching climate information delivery to the needs of the UK food supply chain

News  |  14 September, 2021  |  Reading time: 4 minutes
A new survey to match the needs of the UK’s food supply chain to climate data available from space, is being launched.

The survey is aimed at food retailers, producers, food industry logistic services, financiers and regulators who rely on data to maintain supplies. This fresh initiative from Space4Climate aims to ensure that climate data gathered by satellites provides accessible information for crucial decisions.

Space4Climate represents the UK’s world-leading climate data from space (Earth observation) community across  science, industry and Government.  The group is chaired by the UK Space Agency, hosted by the National Centre for Earth Observation and includes the Defra Earth Observations Centre of Excellence.

The survey will gather information – anonymously if preferred – on:

  • Priority needs, threats and opportunities of the UK’s food and beverage supply chain
  • Concerns about climate change impacts and carbon emissions reporting
  • Data requirements – from whether you use satellite data, past experiences dealing with data from space, to how you want to access data and how you want it presented to meet your needs
  • Data quality and trustworthiness.

The results will inform scientific and climate services development activities of Space4Climate’s members and will be the basis of a publicly-available report aimed at improving the usability of Earth observation data for the UK’s food supply chain, which is facing increasing challenges from climate change, including extreme weather events domestically and globally.

Dr Caitlin Douglas, an embedded researcher with Space4Climate, from King’s College London, is carrying out the survey as part of a 1-year project ‘Climate Stress Testing the UK Food Supply Chain using Earth Observation’. She says: “The survey is quick and straight-forward to complete. We want a wide range of responses from across the food supply change, whether or not participants know if they use Earth observation data. I am focusing on understanding what the industry needs to make informed and confident decisions about the data they use.”

“The Earth observation community recognises that there is a gap between what users need to make climate-informed decisions, and the formats in which data from space is provided. Spending just 10 minutes to complete the survey gives you an opportunity to influence the development and functionality of future climate data services.”

Briony Turner, Climate Services Development Manager for Space4Climate welcomed the call, said, “We’ve been approached by parts of the food supply chain, including future commodities traders, interested in what types of space-enabled datasets are available now and will be in the future.”


“With rapidly evolving reporting requirements, we anticipate new types of space-enabled services will be required. It is important that these are easy to integrate into existing business practices and operations, so we urge those interested to complete this survey.”

The online survey takes about 10-minutes, it is open until October 31: Food system survey


For further information please email Briony Turner or Sally Stevens or call 07740 674074.

Note to Editors:

More about Space4Climate – Space4Climate represents the UK’s world-leading climate data from space (Earth observation) community. We facilitate growth based on use of climate satellite data for social and economic benefit. Members work collectively to identify the needs of potential users of space-enabled data and services and, through our task groups and collective activities, we share with them the corresponding capabilities of UK world-leading scientists and suppliers. This includes ensuring a robust, seamless supply chain of quality-assured climate data from space.

Space4Climate is chaired by the UK Space Agency and spans UK government, industry and academia. Members include the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Department for International Trade (DIT), and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

As a group we offer end-to-end capability with members across the entire value chain of Earth observation and climate services – from design, manufacture and mission development to data analytics and integration of climate information into immediately actionable decision support services.

We are embedded within the space community and are currently hosted by group member the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), a distributed Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) centre of more than 100 scientists from UK universities and research organisations. Find out more at