This book explains how True Cost Accounting is an effective tool we can use to address the pervasive imbalance in our food system.

Calls are coming from all quarters that the food system is broken and needs a radical transformation. A system that feeds many yet continues to create both extreme hunger and diet-related diseases, and one which has significant environmental impacts, is not serving the world adequately. This volume argues that True Cost Accounting in our food system can create a framework for a systemic shift. What sounds on the surface like a practice relegated to accountants is ultimately a call for a new lens on the valuation of food and a new relationship with the food we eat, starting with the reform of a system out of balance. From the true cost of corn, rice and water, to incentives for soil health, the chapters economically compare conventional and regenerative, more equitable farming practices in and food system structures, including taking an unflinching look at the true cost of cheap labour. Overall, this volume points towards 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. It sets forth a path forward based on True Cost Accounting for food. This path seeks to fix our current food metrics, in policy and in practice, by applying 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.

This volume is essential reading for professionals and policymakers involved in developing and reforming the food system, as well as students and scholars working on food policy, food systems and sustainability.

chapter |10 pages


The Urgency of Now
ByBarbara Gemmill-Herren, Lauren E. Baker, Paula A. Daniels
Size: 0.08 MB

section 1|38 pages

The Power and Potential of True Cost Accounting

chapter 1|13 pages

From Practice to Policy

New Metrics for the 21st Century
ByNadia El-Hage Scialabba, Carl Obst
Size: 0.10 MB

chapter 2|12 pages

Cotton in Egypt

Assisting Decision-Makers to Understand Costs and Benefits
ByHelmy Abouleish, Thoraya Seada, Nadine Greiss
Size: 0.37 MB

chapter 3|11 pages

Upstream, Downstream

Accounting for the Environmental and Social Value of Water in the Andes
ByMarta Echavarria, Margaret Stern
Size: 0.13 MB

section 2|34 pages

Thinking Systemically

chapter 4|17 pages

Methods and Frameworks

The Tools to Assess Externalities
ByHarpinder Sandhu, Courtney Regan, Saiqa Perveen, Vatsal Patel
Size: 0.55 MB

chapter 5|15 pages

Health Impacts

The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food Systems
ByCecilia Rocha, Emile Frison, Nick Jacobs
Size: 0.16 MB

section 3|64 pages

From the Field

chapter 6|11 pages

Harmonizing the Measurement of On-Farm Impacts

ByPatrick Holden, Adele Jones
Size: 0.42 MB

chapter 7|16 pages

Incentives to Change

The Experience of the Organic Sector
ByGábor Figeczky, Louise Luttikholt, Frank Eyhorn, Adrian Muller, Christian Schader, Federica Varini
Size: 0.33 MB

chapter 8|25 pages

Transforming the Maize Treadmill

Understanding Social, Economic, and Ecological Impacts
ByFrancisca Acevedo Gasman, Lauren E. Baker, Mauricio R. Bellon, Caroline Burgeff, Alicia Mastretta-Yanes, Rainer Nerger, Harpinder Sandhu, Esmeralda G. Urquiza-Haas, Stephanie White, Gyde Wollesen
Size: 0.17 MB

chapter 9|10 pages

Fostering Healthy Soils in California

Farmer Motivations and Barriers
ByJoanna Ory, Alastair Iles
Size: 0.09 MB

section 4|58 pages

For the Public Good

chapter 10|17 pages

The Real Cost of Unhealthy Diets

BySarah Reinhardt, Rebecca Boehm, Ricardo Salvador
Size: 0.23 MB

chapter 11|13 pages

True Cost Principles in Public Policy

How Schools and Local Government Bring Value to Procurement
ByPaula A. Daniels
Size: 0.16 MB

chapter 12|10 pages

Embedding TCA Within US Regulatory Decision-Making

ByKathleen A. Merrigan
Size: 0.11 MB

chapter 13|16 pages

International Policy Opportunities for True Cost Accounting in Food and Agriculture

ByBarbara Gemmill-Herren, Zoltán Kálmán, Alexander Müller
Size: 0.47 MB

section 5|27 pages

Through the Value Chain

chapter 14|12 pages

The Business of TCA

Assessing Risks and Dependencies Along the Supply Chain
ByTobias Bandel, Jan Köpper, Laura Mervelskemper, Christopher Bonnet, Arno Scheepens
Size: 0.27 MB

chapter 15|11 pages

Investing in the True Value of Sustainable Food Systems

ByTim Crosby, Jennifer Astone, Rex Raimond
Size: 0.11 MB

section 6|41 pages

To the Table

chapter 16|9 pages


Comparing Meat and the Alternatives
ByKathleen A. Merrigan
Size: 0.09 MB

chapter 17|7 pages

Dining Out

The True Cost of Poor Wages
BySaru Jayaraman, Julia Sebastian
Size: 0.08 MB

chapter 18|12 pages

True Price Store

Guiding Consumers
ByAdrian de Groot Ruiz
Size: 0.47 MB

chapter |11 pages


Mobilizing the Power and Potential of True Cost Accounting
ByNadia El-Hage Scialabba, Carl Obst, Kathleen A. Merrigan, Alexander Müller
Size: 0.09 MB