Trase Yearbook 2020

The state of forest risk supply chains

A review of commodity deforestation and expansion, the traders and markets that dominate exports and their exposure to associated deforestation risk, and the effectiveness of zero-deforestation commitments for half of global trade in forest-risk commodities.

Trends in commodity expansion and deforestation

The value of cross-border trade in agricultural and forestry commodities increased threefold between 2000 and 2018, from around US$500 billion to US$1.5 trillion. The production and trade of these commodities makes a major contribution to the economies of many countries. In 2018 soy was the most valuable export commodity in Brazil (US$33 billion), Paraguay (US$2.1 billion) and Argentina (US$8.9 billion); palm oil (along with its derivatives) was the second most valuable export commodity for Indonesia (over US$20 billion, after coal), while the Brazilian cattle sector overall was worth as much as 8% of the country’s GDP.

The IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land in 2019 found that 12% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were from land-use change. Two thirds of these came from tropical deforestation, the major driver of which is the expansion of agriculture to produce globally traded commodities such as beef, palm oil and soy.