True Cost Accounting for Food: Balancing the Scale

We are excited to welcome the launch of True Cost Accounting for Food: Balancing the Scale today! With this new book, governments, farmers, corporations, investors, and others, can break away from the status quo and make better decisions about the future of food.

To fix our current food metrics, in policy and in practice, we must apply a holistic lens that evaluates the actual costs and benefits of different food systems, and the impacts and dependencies between natural systems, human systems, agriculture and food systems. Authors from around the world highlight the potential for our food system to be more human-centred than profit-centred and one that has a more respectful relationship to the planet. 

True Cost Accounting (TCA) is an evolving holistic and systemic approach to measure and value the positive and negative environmental, social, health and economic costs and benefits to facilitate business, consumer, investor and/or policy decisions. Join us at the Organic World Congress (OWC 2021) where we will have a forum discussion in the leadership track titled: "True Cost Accounting and its use in organic agriculture: Reality check on the magic bullet".

"When you do TCA, you are able to assess the impact of a food system as a whole or a farm. One is able to get an adjusted cost of production by calculating the costs for fertilizers, tractors, seeds and also the ecological footprint or climatic impact of the chemical inputs used.", shares Tobias Bandel, the Founder of Soil & More Impacts, during an in-depth interview on the topic. Read the whole story here and our position paper on TCA.

In Chapter 7 "Incentives to Change: The Experience of the Organic Sector", authors from IFOAM - Organics International, FiBL and Biovision demonstrate that using TCA, organic agriculture generates added value for the public good and that it can reduce the costs caused by the unsustainable production practices of ‘conventional’ agriculture. In other words, an expansion of organic agriculture and agroecology makes sense for people and the planet.

  • True Cost Accounting is a powerful tool for food systems transformation. With this new book in hand, governments, farmers, corporations, investors, and others, can break away from the status quo and make better decisions about the future of food.
  • This valuable collection breaks new ground and offers important insights into how True Cost Accounting can be used to design food systems that contribute toward positive change.
  • This book is essential reading for professionals and policymakers involved in developing and reforming the food system, and students and scholars working on food policy, food systems, and sustainability.
  • This book is a must-read for anyone interested in how to fix our food systems.
  • True Cost Accounting is the starting point for any serious conversation about reforming food systems.
  • Book reviews

  • Addressing questions about increasing the price of food? Food that makes people healthier should be more affordable and readily available. The production of foods that are making people sick and also hurting the environment should be minimized. Policymakers need to assess the impact of their food and agriculture policy decisions on making nutritious foods more affordable and accessible and ensuring fair pay for workers.
  • Addressing questions about putting a price on nature and people? Monetary units reflect a current societal norm, but more holistic and inclusive measurements of value can and should be considered. Measuring costs and benefits demand that we respect and incorporate diverse ways of assigning value.

Celebrate Those Farming Sustainably on our Global Action Day

Read more