The Role of True Cost Accounting in Shaping Sustainable Agrifood Systems

How can policymakers improve decision-making to facilitate sustainable agrifood systems?   

Food provides nutrition and health benefits, creates livelihoods, and holds cultural value that is central to our societies. At the same time, it negatively affects nature and human wellbeing without being shown in the prices we pay. To achieve the impact economy, it is crucial to make these hidden costs visible. As shown in this year’s flagship report “State of Food and Agriculture” by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization, applying True Cost Accounting (TCA) is the way forward to enable such informed decisions.  

With our background paper, we contributed to this important step.  In our work, we focused on applications of TCA for policymakers by: 

  • Identifying nine case studies relevant to policymakers in agrifood systems 
  • Describing the stages and steps needed to undergo a TCA study, such as boundary setting and materiality assessment  
  • Providing guidance on how to deal with data scarcity

For a deeper dive into our background paper and its pivotal contribution to the State of Food and Agriculture report, click here!