12:47 Apr 25 2024

We want our research to make a difference. Our expertise in supply chain forensics supports not only investigations but also strategic litigation ...

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Refined Data

Data Desk is an investigative consultancy that uses high-spec data and advanced computational techniques to shine a light on the industries at the heart of the climate crises.

We work with media, academics and civil society to devise and deliver targeted investigations and analysis to accelerate the energy transition.

The material economy is back — we hold it to account.

Oil terminal on Marawah Island, United Arab Emirates

Who We Are

We are Sam Leon and Louis Goddard.

Drawing on over 15 years’ experience in campaigning and journalism, we arm our clients with stories that shift the dial on public opinion and hard statistics that convince policymakers of the case for change.

Our approach to finding and developing stories is unique. It involves the latest industry knowledge, a deep understanding of the key datasets — satellite imagery, commodity tracking, leaks and other alternative data sources — and the technical skills to tame and interrogate them.

Oil storage tanks in Cushing, Oklahoma

Supply Chain Forensics

Our methodology gives investigators eyes on key climate-risk supply chains.

We help clients source the very best commercial and open-source data for their campaigns, act as trusted advisors in its interpretation and verify it using other sources, whether that’s customs records, high-resolution satellite imagery or a close reading of obscure regulatory filings.

We then add our own technical expertise and analysis and present our findings using an in-house platform for secure interactive documents, allowing clients to become partners in the investigative process.

Deforestation in the state of Pará, Brazil

Our Work

In 2023, we worked on major stories published in The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The Times of London, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Politico and a number of local outlets.

  • Monitoring Pentagon supply chains — with POGO and The Washington Post, we exposed a sanctions-busting scheme laundering Russian oil via a Turkish storage terminal and a Greek refinery and producing jet fuel ultimately sold to the US military, prompting outrage in the Senate
  • Defusing a Russian carbon bomb — funded by an EU grant, we worked closely with French, German and Italian media to develop exposés on European engineering firms’ involvement with Russia’s strategic Arctic LNG 2 gas project, resulting in a raft of new US sanctions and a sharp drop in the share price of the main company involved
  • Debunking dodgy data on CCS — we provided exclusive data and analysis to Bloomberg, resulting in a high-impact investigation into the failure of one of the world’s most vaunted carbon capture projects

The port of Novorossiysk, Russian Federation

Our Funding

Data Desk is funded partly by grants and partly by consultancy work for clients in the climate space and private sector.

Grants enable us to proactively develop our own research programmes, especially on subjects which are under-reported and where key watchdogs may not have the resources to engage us as consultants.

In 2023, these grants funded work on destructive Arctic gas developments, energy sanctions evasion and opaque public pension funds’ investments in fossil fuel companies.

We are grateful to all donors who made contributions in 2023:

  • International Press Institute
  • Sunrise Foundation
  • Fund for Constitutional Government
  • Donald Porteous

A gas processing plant near Tarko-Sale, Russian Federation