Customer Success Story: Bumiterra

Michael Wu

Sep 2, 2023

The Bumiterra founders with one of their customers, Catur Coffee Company.

Who is Bumiterra?

Established in 2021, Bumiterra is a rainforest developer based in Jakarta, Indonesia that has gained regional recognition for their work restoring native ecosystems in the Borneo jungle.

Since we’ve begun working together earlier this year in April of 2023, they’ve seen a supercharged boost in the sale of their “reforestation-as-a-service” model. When we first met in January they had 3 customers for their product, but since partnering with Coolant they’ve expanded to over 20 different customers in the Southeast Asia region. They serve customers as varied as major restaurant chains in Indonesia, coffee exporters, and transportation logistics companies who all trust Bumiterra and Coolant for their climate goals.

Throughout their website and sales materials, Bumiterra has prominently featured Coolant’s “cutting-edge AI-powered remote sensing technologies” for quantifying carbon growth in their forests. The Bumiterra-Coolant partnership is an indispensable relationship for both sides.

What is the value we provide them?

We help Bumiterra create a more trustable product for their end customers. As a company, Bumiterra’s mission is to pioneer a new model of nature-based services for corporate buyers. Quantifying the carbon benefit of their ecosystem services is a critical part of their value proposition to their end buyers, who are companies that want to brand themselves as eco-friendly and carbon conscious.

Without our technology, they would have to primarily rely on hand measurement tools like tape measures and clinometers to assess the diameter and height of each tree in their plot. Not only are these methods labor-intensive and slow, they are harder for buyers to trust given how opaque these measurements can be. Bumiterra cares deeply about holding themselves to a rigorous scientific standard and has thus partnered with Coolant to meet that scientific standard.

Through a month-long field visit together and weekly meetings since, we’ve brainstormed how to make our drone based MRV solution as scalable, cost-effective, and scientifically accurate as possible. Together, in just a few months we’ve created a model that works well for their existing customers and transparently communicates across the value Bumiterra provides for the environment.

Why did Bumiterra choose Coolant?

When we were first connected back in January, James Joseph – the founder and CEO of Bumiterra – told me that he had searched through nearly every digital MRV provider available but was unsatisfied with the options he had searched through.

He had looked through a number of the major satellite MRV providers, but was unsatisfied with their accuracy for even large growth Indonesian rainforests. If these satellite MRV companies struggled with old growth forests, James worried about how they would fare for the kinds of newly planted smaller trees that would comprise reforestation projects. Many of these satellite providers he found, also required large amounts of ground truth data to train their models which limited their usefulness in his eyes and increased costs.

James also looked into several LiDAR based solutions, but quickly ruled them out due to pricing reasons.

Ultimately, Bumiterra concluded that there was no tool in the market today that was able to accurately and trustworthily assess carbon stock of reforestation projects like theirs at scale.

And so, with this conclusion, James asked me to build something for him.

Project Spotlight: Reforestation in Merakai (West Kalimantan, Indonesia)

In March of this year, Coolant’s founder Michael traveled to Bumiterra’s flagship reforestation project in Merakai located in the lush tropical rainforests of West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Alongside James Joseph the CEO of Bumiterra, Michael surveyed the initial location and flew his drone to build some initial models and baseline estimations of historical growth in the reforestation sites.

In the months since, Coolant has built a number of different carbon stock estimation tools in partnership with Bumiterra. We’ve built a Sentinel-2 based land cover and carbon stock estimation tool for all of Borneo so that they can do high-level feasibility assessments for future projects. We’ve built precision carbon stock models that have analyzed the carbon stock of their first 10-acre reforestation pilot project on a tree-by-tree level basis. On their end, all that was required was a few hours of drone operation and uploading the footage to our website.

From that footage, this model below was built of their reforestation site in Merakai. It was collected earlier this year in June of 2023, before planting had began. Pretty soon, we’ll be able to model the change before and after planting, and visualize the growth of these newly planted trees over time. Check it out and let us know what you think!