What is Trase?

Trase is a powerful new sustainability platform that enables governments, companies, investors and others to better understand and address the environmental and social impacts linked to their supply chains.

What does the Trase platform do?

Trase maps exports of forest-risk commodities from the jurisdictions (usually subnational, such as municipalities) where they were produced to the countries that import them, showing different stages and actors along the supply chain. It links these flows to social and environmental data, including on deforestation, to identify associated sustainability risks, as well as opportunities for responsible production and sourcing. One of the main innovations of Trase is the fact that we map this central portion of global commodity supply chains - from jurisdictions of production to countries of import - for the entire exports of a given commodity.

What commodity supply chains does Trase cover?

Currently, Trase maps soy exports from Brazil and Parguay, traceable to the level of producer municipalities, as well as Argentinian soy and cattle exports from those three countries, traceable to national ports. Starting in 2017, Trase will start to expand to other major commodities including Indonesian palm oil and timber. By 2021 we aim to cover 70% of the global trade in the forest risk commodities of soy, cattle, timber, pulp and paper, and palm oil. In future years we hope to be able to cover domestic consumption of commodities as well as exports.

What indicator data does Trase show?

Trase currently focuses on supply chains of agricultural commodities associated with deforestation and other related impacts, including on water, biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions and rural development and livelihoods. Trase also includes data on the economic value of exports, and we will soon be including indicators of good agricultural management practices and good territorial governance. We are only at the beginning of exploring the range of environmental, social and economic indicators that can be linked to Trase. See Data and Methods for more information on the indicators that are currently available.

Can Trase tell me which companies and countries are directly responsible for deforestation?

No. Trase assesses a supply chain actor’s exposure to the reputational, legal, operational and other risks associated with deforestation. These risks are linked to the amount of deforestation that took place in the jurisdictions (e.g. municipalities) where a forest-risk commodity handled by the actor was produced, during a given period. Read the blog “Assessing deforestation risks facing supply chain actors” for more information on how Trase measures and assesses risk.

Without information on the location of individual source farms Trase cannot provide a definitive assessment of the deforestation or other impacts that are associated with a given company. However, Trase provides a powerful first step in helping to filter and identify the extent to which that deforestation is likely to be linked to a given commodity, and help inform critical sourcing decisions, as well as guide the investments and monitoring protocols that are needed to make production practices more sustainable.

Can Trase tell me what consumer goods are deforestation-free?

Currently Trase only maps export commodity supply chains to the first country of import. From there, the commodity may undergo several further steps of processing, sales and exports before it reaches the consumer market in its final form. Therefore further research is needed to link the commodity flows in Trase to specific consumer goods.

How does the supply chain mapping in the Trase platform work?

The Trase platform is based on the Spatially Explicit Information of Production to Consumption Systems (SEI-PCS) approach to mapping commodity supply chains. SEI-PCS processes publically available tax, logistics customs and shipping data, making it possible to trace material flows from the municipality of origin, through traders and exporters, to the country of consumption. SEI-PCS was developed by SEI – for more information see the Data and Methods section.

What is that diagram that looks like strands of spaghetti?

The Trase platform represents flows of commodities using Sankey diagrams. Invented by an Irish ship’s captain, Matthew Sankey, Sankey diagrams have been in use for over 100 years. We use Sankey diagrams in Trase because they can show not only the direction but also the scale of flows between points in the supply chain in an intuitive way. The interactive Sankeys on the Trase platform were developed by researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute in partnership with Vizzuality. They allow users to customize the Sankey diagram to show material flows according to a particular node or set of nodes in the chain, or particular characteristics of the material flow.

How reliable is the Trase data?

The Trase approach to supply chain mapping uses data from dozens of different sources including official government data on production, tax, and shipping, as well as other datasets on supply chain logistics freely disclosed by industry associations and on the websites of commodity trading companies. The combination of multiple datasets is key to ensuring the integrity of our approach. Trase is dedicated to clearly communicating the limitations of the data within our methodologies and in the tool itself. We encourage users to visit our disclaimer, terms of use, and methodology documents to fully understand the strength of Trase data and limitations to its use.

Can I download the Trase data?

Yes! Please visit the data portal to download Trase data either as bulk downloads or filtered according to your interest. Please do keep us posted on how you use our data and any insights you gain that can help us improve the platform.

How do I find out more about Trase and its evolving capabilities?

Please sign up for our newsletter in the footer of this page. We promise not to send lots of emails, just significant new announcements.

How can I get involved?

We are actively seeking to build relationships with new partner institutions and funders to further the development and applications of the platform to include new countries, commodities, capabilities and data - and to identify concrete opportunities for mainstreaming uptake of Trase.

Work on Trase has also helped establish the Supply Chain Transparency Network, a learning and knowledge exchange community of practitioner organizations working on transparency for supply chain sustainability.

Contact us at info@trase.earth.

Who is behind Trase?

Trase is a partnership between the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Global Canopy Programme.

We work closely with the European Forest Institute, Vizzuality, and many other partners. These include Agrosatelite, Both ENDS, BV Rio, CDP, Chalmers University, Conservation International, Gibbs Land Use and Environment Laboratory at Wisconsin University, International Institute for Sustainability, Imaflora, InfoAmazonia, León University, Louvain University, Luc Hoffman Institute, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Transitions, University of Brasilia, University of Bonn, University of Sao Paulo, World Conservation Monitoring Centre, World Resources Institute, and WWF.

Trase is made possible by the generous funding of the European Union, the Nature Conservancy, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Swedish Research Institute Formas, and the UK Department for International Development.