The approach of Trase is to harness, through an online platform, large datasets of untapped production, trade and customs data in order to uncover the supply-chain pathways of internationally traded forest-risk commodities. These connections span from the local places of production to consumer countries through exporters, traders and ports. Trase processes comprehensive datasets and make this information available on the online platform, including detailed information on shipping transactions and individual operators.
Data that can be accessed on the online platform does not rely on voluntary initiatives nor on regulatory approaches, as these can encounter problems with participation and enforcement. Instead, the platform makes available concrete, reliable data from a wide range of sources. As transparency improves, supply-chain actors have a greater incentive to work together to address environmental and societal problems in producer regions.
The Facility’s contribution to the Trase initiative builds on a feasibility study for an International Forest Risk Model (INFORM). The study involved calculating probabilities and developing criteria to assess deforestation risks using a range of data, including earth observation, customs and trade data.
Trase can help governments at both ends of commodity supply chains to turn policy aspirations into the concrete measures necessary to decouple deforestation from trade in major agricultural commodities. The range of public policy measures that could be deployed to tackle deforestation associated with commodity trading is wide. These include deforestation- free public procurement policies, policies that provide preferential market access for legal and sustainable products, and realigning aid and investment policies to sectors and regions that encourage the supply of deforestation-free commodities.
The European Forest Institute’s EU REDD Facility is working to develop platform applications tailored to the needs of governments, trade and customs authorities so that they can use Trase to monitor forest-related risks and identify opportunities in commodity production and trade.
Key pillars for transparent, deforestation-free policies on commodity trade
- Building strategic coalitions and public-private partnerships that work towards common standards in commodity production and trade
- Analysing scenarios to inform designs and plans for procurement and investment policies
- Scanning risks to sharpen monitoring and control functions, and to strengthen the implementation of existing policy instruments such as the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) scheme to tackle illegal logging
- Monitoring policy effectiveness and reporting progress towards political targets
Stakeholder engagement and mediation are essential in implementing deforestation-free commitments at jurisdictional level. Tools such as Trase can be important as a way to engage stakeholders in clarifying and harmonising definitions and methodologies. Going forward, there is a need to build a community of stakeholders committed to developing transparency in forest-risk supply chains. Such transparency can inform deforestation-free policies in a way that satisfies the wide variety of trade partners across producer and consumer countries. The emergence of transparency tools such as Trase is an opportunity to nourish constructive dialogue to speed up the implementation of commitments.
The EU REDD Facility strategy combines REDD+ jurisdictional approaches and supply-chain incentives to address the drivers of deforestation. This approach enables stakeholders at the jurisdictional level to beneﬁt from REDD+ initiatives and climate ﬁnance while gaining better access to forest-friendly commodity markets.
Going forward, Trase will undertake case studies of supply chains for three major forest-risk commodities: soy, timber and palm oil.
The EU REDD Facility and its are currently investigating ﬁve thematic issues that will feed into the TRASE platform. The ﬁve thematic areas are:
- Linking the Trase platform with jurisdictional monitoring systems
- Integrating data on actor performance beyond deforestation rates, including criteria such as legality and land-use governance
- Assessing the potential to provide data on smallholders and assessing progress towards deforestation-free standards
- Analysing the Trase approach to timber and how it can connect to other approaches, including FLEGT
- Researching the links between financial flows and supply chains
Work with Trase complements the ongoing work of the Facility on national information systems for legal, forest-friendly supply chains in over 15 tropical countries.
Truck transporting harvested oil palms, Sabah, Malaysia