The Trase team has been hard at work in 2018: the latest release brings an exciting new level of transparency in the trade of forest risk commodities, with a breakthrough in the mapping of Brazilian soy exports, new indicators, including on clearance in the Cerrado and compliance with the Brazilian Forest Code, and new data showing the exports of many other commodities from across Latin America from consumer markets worldwide. You can now explore all this new data on Trase.earth.

New countries and commodities

The vision of Trase is to map the majority of global trade in forest-risk commodities by 2020. The new data cover an array of national exports of forest risk commodities, including soy from Bolivia; shrimp from Ecuador; beef, corn and soy from Paraguay; and coffee, shrimp and cocoa from Peru. When it comes to Brazil, we now show national level export data for a wide range of commodities: beef, chicken, cocoa, coffee, corn, cotton, palm oil, wood pulp, sugarcane and, of course, soy.

For all of these commodities, Trase now maps the volume and value of exports from the country of production through to the first country of import, identifying port of export, and exporters and importers.

These national-level data show the companies and countries involved in the international trade of these commodities, many of which play a significant role in the global economy but are often associated with environmentally and socially unsustainable practices.

Although the new data only shows exports at the national level, in the coming years we aim to map flows all the way from subnational production landscapes, as we have done for Brazilian soy. But the national level data can provide critical insights on market share and changing trade dynamics that link consumer markets to individual traders and producer countries.

Enhanced Brazilian soy export data

We have also improved the accuracy and range of our data on Brazilian soy exports. You can now visualize and download all Brazilian soy exports from 2003 to 2017, with exports traced back to the municipalities where they were produced.

Improvements to the SEI-PCS model for Brazilian soy mean the data is now links logistic hubs, including storage and crushing facilities, and producing municipalities more accurately, by taking better account of spatial distribution of asset ownership and domestic consumption. The mapping of Brazilian soy exports is Trase´s flagship product, and the testing ground for new methodologies and cost savings that will be applied to other commodities and countries.

New sustainability indicators for Brazilian soy

As well as upgrading the supply chain mapping data for Brazilian soy exports we have also added a number of new indicators to provide greater insight into areas at risk from deforestation, and opportunities for improving sustainable practices. These include:

  • the latest Brazilian government deforestation data (PRODES) for both the Cerrado and Amazon biomes
  • estimates of greenhouse gas emissions associated with deforestation
  • improved metrics for landowners’ legal compliance with forest protection requirements in Brazil´s Forest Code (identifying the risk that buyers may be linked to illegal deforestation) and the extent of unprotected vegetation on private land in each municipality
  • the volume of Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) certified soy per municipality
  • an updated classification of zero deforestation commitments.

We have also added a new layer to the interactive map – showing land tenure – as well as upgrading some of the existing layers. The new layer distinguishes between private land, undesignated and designated public land, and urban infrastructure, and provides information on jurisdictional responsibilities for environmental protections in different production regions. These contextual layers can be accessed by clicking the button on the bottom-left of the map, along with layers that recolour the map according to a range of environmental, agricultural, territorial governance and socio-economic indicators.

New functionality

Much of the work on the Trase platform this year has been behind the scenes – investing in the future, preparing the platform to host data on many more commodities and countries and improving the functionality of the platform for users. We’re starting to see some of those improvements bear fruit – such as improved profile pages for individual companies on Brazilian soy showing the full range of years (now 2003–2017).

Video: Trase / YouTube.