Trase

Trase Yearbook 2018

Sustainability in forest-risk supply chains: Spotlight on Brazilian soy

The Trase Yearbook presents the latest insights on the sustainability of global agricultural commodity supply chains associated with tropical deforestation. Based on Trase’s unique transparency data, and with a spotlight on soy in 2018, it provides a first systematic assessment of the sourcing patterns of major buying companies and countries, the deforestation risk associated with the major companies and import markets that dominate Brazil’s soy exports, and the links between deforestation commitments and changes on the ground.

Key findings

Go directly to the key findings of the 2018 Yearbook, demonstrating the unique capabilities of Trase data to assess sourcing patterns of major soy-buying companies and countries, patterns and trends in supply chain deforestation risk, and the links between deforestation commitments and changes on the ground.

1. Agricultural commodities and tropical deforestation

Production and trade of agricultural commodities has exploded in recent decades and exports from tropical regions continue to grow rapidly. Much of this activity is directly or indirectly driving deforestation and conversion of vulnerable habitats. Latin America is a powerhouse of agricultural production, and is increasingly linked to emerging economies such as China which are rapidly increasing their dependence on the region. Read more...

2. Exports of forest-risk commodities from South America

Of the 2,500 traders exporting 450 million tonnes of forest-risk commodities from Latin America, just 36 account for over half of exports. Trase data detail the activities of traders in forest risk commodity supply chains, demonstrating that many of the largest companies have operations that extend over multiple commodities and multiple producer countries. Read more...

3. Soy expansion in South America

Soy is the world´s most valuable, internationally traded forest-risk commodity. Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay now produce almost 50% of the world’s soy. The land farmed under soy in these countries has increased forty-fold since 1970, to 56m ha today, an area larger than Spain. Soy expansion into native vegetation has threatened globally important biomes including the Cerrado and Gran Chaco. Read more...

4. Brazilian soy supply chains: linking buyers to landscapes

The soy trade in Brazil has long been dominated by just a handful of major traders, with two-thirds of trade in 2016 being handled by the six largest exporters. The supply chains of many soy buyers have strong connections to specific landscapes, with individual companies controlling more than half the total trade of 60% of Brazil´s soy-exporting municipalities. Strong growth in demand, particularly from China, has brought a number of fast-growing new entrants to the market, many of which are operating at the new soy frontier in Matopiba. Read more...

5. Assessing deforestation risk in Brazilian soy exports

Sourcing patterns determine the exposure of different trading companies to deforestation risk. The supply chains of the six largest soy traders in Brazil in 2016 are associated with two-thirds of the total soy deforestation risk in the preceding decade, with companies sourcing actively from Matopiba being the most exposed. Whilst over half the total deforestation risk associated with soy exports in 2016 was linked to Chinese imports many other countries, including in the EU, are exposed to higher relative levels of deforestation risk. Read more...

6. Zero-deforestation commitments and Brazilian soy

Zero deforestation commitments offer a positive step forwards, yet their effectiveness remains untested. Whilst the volume of soy traded under zero-deforestation commitments has increased markedly in recent years, coverage remains very uneven between regions. Less than half the soy exported from the threatened Cerrado biome in 2016 was covered by a commitment. Assessment of historical trends using Trase data show that in the last decade both committed and non-committed trader and consumer governments have been associated with similar levels of deforestation risk. Read more...