New Trase release brings even greater transparency to Brazilian soy supply chains

Published in
3 min readOct 12, 2017


Image shows a Trase Sankey diagram showing soy exports from Brazil in 2015

New data from Brazil means that the supply chain transparency platform, Trase, can now provide more accurate insights into the Brazilian soy supply chain, with the latest update now online. The new release provides open access to the key data that underpin the mapping of soy in Trase.

Trase now also includes data on palm oil exports from Indonesia, tracking trade from all ports, through trading companies to the port of import.

Even more accurate linking to production regions

The Brazil data update allows us to trace soy exports back to the production source more accurately and comprehensively than ever before. Previous versions of Trase relied on combining data from different sources to map soy trade flows back to the municipalities where the soy was produced.

The new release (technically SEI-PCS v.2.2) replaces this patchwork of production data with a national tax database that covers all companies in Brazil. Every shipment of soy leaving Brazil carries with it a unique ID number that is associated with the trader´s activities in the region the soy was sourced from. Trase now matches that ID to the National Registry of Legal Entities (CNPJ) to identify where the soy is coming from.

As a result, Trase now identifies the municipality of origin for more than 92% of Brazilian soy exports (by volume), as well as state and biome of origin for 100% of exports. This makes it possible for companies and others along the global supply chains to explore the governance conditions and sustainability risks at the point of production with greater certainty.

Dr Javier Godar, Senior Research Fellow at SEI and innovations lead for Trase, explained:

While the platform may not look that different, using the tax ID records for soy represents a step-change in accuracy and potential of Trase. We can now be even more confident in linking trade flows and companies to information on sustainability risks, opening up even more opportunities for positive action. And we can also potentially use the same approach for other commodities in other countries.

Multi-year coverage

Another first for SEI-PCS 2.2 — made much easier by the tax ID records — is multi-year coverage. Trase now maps over 325,000 individual trade flows across a six-year period from 2010 to 2015 (the previous version only covered 2015) — and more years will be added as Trase continues to develop.

This makes it possible to follow how sourcing patterns and trade flows have evolved over a period when Brazilian soy production increased considerably.

Dr Sarah Lake, Trase co-lead at Global Canopy, said:

Having data for a whole period is a major breakthrough. If we can track changes in where soy is being sourced over time, we can then start to explore what factors might be driving those changes. We can start to answer some of the most vital policy questions, and perhaps identify new opportunities to improve sustainability.

These data are now available on the Trase data portal free of charge, so researchers and analysts can use for their own work.

Watch this space

The tax ID records provide a wealth of detail on the logistic hubs in the soy supply chain, and the Trase team will be using this for a range of more in-depth studies as well as to cover even more years. And because the tax ID records are not specific to soy, they can also be used for future analysis of other major commodities produced in Brazil.

Dr Toby Gardner, Trase co-lead at SEI, added:

This is only at the beginning of the Trase journey. We are constantly looking out for opportunities to improve Trase’s functionality and expand its coverage so that Trase can play an ever greater role in helping to create more sustainable economies. Watch this space.

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