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Extinction: The Facts – Trase featured in new BBC documentary

Sir David Attenborough

The BBC documentary Extinction: The Facts, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, showed how Trase can map the links from consumer countries to the places of production

A powerful new documentary broadcast on Sunday 13 September on the BBC investigated the drivers of biodiversity loss and extinction, and asked what the escalating nature crisis means for the future of our species. The show, which was presented by Sir David Attenborough, featured a number of contributions from Trase’s Director Toby Gardner. Extinction: The Facts is the latest addition to the BBC’s Our Planet Matters series.

The documentary illustrated how Trase, a joint partnership between Global Canopy and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), is uniquely able to map the links between consumer countries via trading companies to the places of production in unprecedented detail. You can read more about Trase or sign up to our mailing list.

Interviewed on the show, Toby Gardner said:

“What we are doing is to take the customs data, the shipping data and, for the first time, we connect them all together and ask who is buying from hotspots where we are really losing biodiversity. Trase has enabled us to identify the main drivers of biodiversity loss: soy, cocoa, coffee, palm oil and beef.”

These forest-risk commodities end up in over half of the products on UK supermarket shelves. That means, as Toby Gardner added on the show, that

“a consumer walking into the supermarket may unwittingly be contributing towards loss of biodiversity. That is not to say that none of us should ever eat meat, or cut all dairy out of our diets, but we have to demand that they are produced sustainably.”

Although enough land has already been cleared to sustain the levels of production humanity needs, an area of rainforest the size of a football pitch is still being cleared for agriculture every 60 seconds — as it is often a cheaper and quicker option.

But as the latest Trase Yearbook shows, deforestation is highly concentrated in just a few hotspots, and among a relatively small number of supply chains and traders. This means that a small group of trading companies are in a strong position to leverage system-wide change in supply chain sustainability.

You can explore insights from the new Trase Yearbook and Trase data.

 

Image: David Attenborough, BBC, Sam Barker