The upcoming European Union (EU) forest-risk commodities regulation requires companies selling to or from the EU market to provide the geolocation data of production areas. To implement the mandatory due diligence requirements, regulators prescribe using EU data collection and analysis tools such as the Union’s Space programme (EGNOS/Galileo and Copernicus) and the EU Observatory. Furthermore, the draft law recommends building on existing publicly or privately available data sources and monitoring initiatives. This paper examines digital transparency initiatives in Brazil to understand digital technologies’ contribution to tracing products’ socio-environmental origin. As a commodity powerhouse and home to the world’s largest rainforest, the Brazilian case offers lessons for implementing the EU Deforestation Regulation while presenting a chance to reflect on the potential of technology and knowledge transfer from the Global South. Moreover, by building on existing datasets and digital artifacts as those in Brazil, state and non-state actors may foster digital innovation, increase value to society, and open paths for enhanced transnational collaboration. The case study shows several high-quality open data sources and digital platforms exist. The major obstacle to transforming the Brazilian agro-industrial complex lies in realising institutional rather than technological innovations. Specifically, the Brazilian government and agribusiness must abandon retrograde narratives and actions, including data misuse and the instrumentalization of policies related to digital technologies, which are incompatible with the current global climate crisis. While operators, authorities, and civil society should rely on Brazilian digital initiatives to conduct non-deforestation compliance checks, the EU must adopt a more collaborative approach to help Brazil address its pressing political-institutional challenges.
- Publication Year
- Publication Type
- RIFS Studies
Marzano, K. (2023). Learning from Digital Transparency Initiatives in Brazil: A Call for Innovation and Collaboration ahead of the EU Forest-Risk Commodities Regulation. RIFS Study, March 2023.
- Staff involved
- Projects involved
- Digitalisation and Impacts on Sustainability