How Deloitte uses Signal AI to better understand ocean plastic waste

“This type of information, that we would not have found without the Signal AI platform, helped The Ocean Cleanup to make the best decision for onboarding a new supplier out of multiple prospective suppliers.”

How Deloitte uses Signal AI's External Intelligence Platform

  • Deloitte’s Risk advisory team harnesses Signal AI to help The Ocean Cleanup make more informed decisions about their supply chain
  • Deloitte has used its expertise and external intelligence from Signal AI to discover previously unknown risks and mitigate their impact
  • With a broader knowledge of potentials risks across the globe, Deloitte have been able to help The Ocean Cleanup to confidently make more informed decisions

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Helping answer the questions that matter

By the year 2040, The Ocean Cleanup is aiming to reach a 90 per cent reduction of floating ocean plastic. The foundation is a non-profit organization developing and scaling technologies to rid the oceans of plastic, but to succeed in this mission, the foundation is relying heavily on several suppliers.

When the pandemic brought up unforeseen and unknown risks in their annual planning, it raised the question of which risks arising in their supply chain could impact the continuity of their integral work. Lonneke Holierhoek, Director of Science & Operations at The Ocean Cleanup, says. “Our organization can be quite vulnerable to public opinion. We therefore have to be especially careful with our partners. Bad publicity can turn out to be truly devastating.

“We wanted to clarify the risks and we were helped tremendously by Deloitte’s expertise in Supplier Risk Assessment and Signal AI’s ability to make sense of the data. We looked for guidance. What will the long-term effects of the pandemic be? Which suppliers are sensitive to a crisis? Can they still deliver their products? And will they still exist in three months’ time? Thanks to our partnership with Deloitte we have been able to asses the possible risks with in-depth industry knowledge and specialized technological skills.”

Deloitte teamed up with The Ocean Cleanup as part of the Deloitte Impact Foundation to share knowledge and expertise to deliver an impact in the fields of education & employment, sustainability and inclusive society.

In order to help The Ocean Cleanup answer these questions, Deloitte’s Risk Advisory team wanted to use its Risk Sensing capabilities to spot and mitigate risks from across the world. The team needed to create a Third Party Risk Management Framework, with risk areas including financial, operational, sustainability and reputational risks. Deloitte’s Risk Advisory team turned to Signal AI to gather external intelligence and consequently help The Ocean Cleanup make more informed decisions around suppliers.

Incorporating Signal AI’s reputation data into Risk Sensing

With Deloitte’s Centre for Regulatory Strategy already partnering with Signal AI to stay ahead of regulatory developments, the Risk Advisory unit leveraged Signal AI’s External Intelligence Platform to bring the cutting edge technology into its Risk Sensing capabilities. 

By utilizing AI-powered searching, Deloitte is able to view information from a wide array of sources, and make sense of data in a matter of seconds. Harnessing entities – where AI allows you to search through topics, products, substances, people and locations without lengthy keyword searches – the Risk Advisory team could narrow down to the information they needed at speed, allowing them to conduct extensive supplier background checks and ongoing monitoring for The Ocean Cleanup.

Deloitte had identified key areas that required analysis, such as fraud, corruption, human rights abuses, environmental issues, pollution and more, utilizing AI-powered topics within the platform to understand risks in the supply chain. Deloitte’s Risk Sensing team harnesses unlimited searching and a first class range of content, combined with real-time translation in over a hundred languages. 

With this external intelligence from Signal AI, Deloitte has been able to build the Third Party framework and give The Ocean Cleanup the power to analyze their key suppliers and make more informed decisions. This gives them the ability to spot risks regardless of where they emerge, eliminating any gaps in their understanding. 

Deloitte’s Sem de Spa said: “The range of sources available with Signal AI is far greater than other platforms we’ve experienced with at least double the amount of articles being ingested every day.  With real-time translation in over a hundred languages we’re able to pick up stories across the globe that otherwise might’ve been missed. This helps The Ocean Cleanup have a more comprehensive analysis of their supply chain and the potential drivers of risk.”

Deloitte’s Risk Sensing team would collect the relevant insights and combine this intelligence with information they gather through other sources – for example year end reports, but also documentation requested at the suppliers themselves. Based on all this information they form a risk rating opinion for each supplier that is then delivered in a report to The Ocean Cleanup. 

How insight into the key risks lead to making the “right decisions”

With Signal AI surfacing previously unknown information, Deloitte’s team were able to demonstrate to The Ocean Cleanup that none of their partners were at risk. However this predictive intelligence did show there were smaller issues that needed to be addressed, allowing The Ocean Cleanup to mitigate the potential risks. 

Deloitte’s Sem de Spa said: “With the Signal AI solution, we found out that a prospective supplier had an incident with leaking blue wax into the ocean. It turned out to be a very small and harmless event. Even though the incident occurred at a prospective supplier, this type of issue is always good to know about because it can bring damage to the reputation of the company.”

Thanks to unlimited searching, real-time translation, AI-powered entities and sentiment analysis, Deloitte can filter down to the negative stories and get to the risks more quickly, mitigating the impact on The Ocean Cleanup and make a more informed decision.

Sem de Spa added: “We’re able to assess the volume of coverage that highlights supply chain risks, but we’re also able to filter by negative coverage using sentiment analysis. This helps us get to the key risks that matter more quickly. This type of information, that we would not have found without the Signal AI platform, helped The Ocean Cleanup to make the best decision for onboarding a new supplier out of multiple prospective suppliers.” 

Armed with this previously unknown external intelligence, The Ocean Cleanup uses Risk Sensing to help screen suppliers, check their stories and reports, and ask the right questions to help them make more confident decisions over who they work with. Working with several suppliers of different sizes, languages, and from countries of varying economic stability, it’s important that the foundation can be aware of potential risks.

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