True Cost – From Costs to Benefits in Food and Farming

Exploring holistic accounting methodologies for the agrifood sector

This project brings together a broad network comprising businesses, non-governmental organisations, auditing firms, and scientists with the common goal of developing guidelines for a standardised method of True Cost Accounting (TCA) for the food and farming sectors.
The specific obectives of the project are to:
  • Change the way companies' performance is measured and valued;
  • Ensure that businesses factor in their social and environmental impacts in their decision-making processes;
  • Develop standardised impact measuring and reporting to allow businesses, investors, policy makers and consumers to make informed decisions.
The project first designed the TCA methodology by computing the true costs of production for agricultural products for a broad range of companies in the food and agribusiness sector. In a second phase, which is ongoing, the methodology is being tested through two pilot studies to assess its application at the farm level, as well as among processing companies. In total, more than 20 assessments are being carried out, covering 15 countries around the world. The assessments test diverse agro-food value chains, including tea, coffee, nuts, medical herbs, and mangoes.
During the third phase of the project, the TCA guidelines, as well as digital data collection infrastructure will be finalised.
The results of TCA assessments can be used in business reports. The application of the guidelines will also allow a more transparent and holistic comparison of business’ performance, and incentivise sustainable business models.
The theoretical foundations of True Cost Accounting were set by the landmark TEEBAgriFood study, which addressed the core theoretical issues and controversies underpinning the evaluation of the nexus between the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services, and related externalities including human health impacts from agriculture on a global scale.
Project Name
True Cost – From Costs to Benefits in Food and Farming
Duration
2019-2022
To learn more about the project, visit its official
Counting the Hidden Costs of Food Adds Up to Real Progress
News

Counting the Hidden Costs of Food Adds Up to Real Progress

TMG director co-publishes opinion piece in Newsweek
Website Launch: True Cost – From Costs to Benefits in Food and Farming
News

Website Launch: True Cost – From Costs to Benefits in Food and Farming

TMG and partners launch a new website promoting the True Cost Initiative
Cheap food is expensive
Blog Post

Cheap food is expensive

Why the World Food Systems Summit must usher in a fundamental change to our food system
Social Capital in the Food Sector: A Brief for True Cost Accounting Considerations

Info Brief

Social Capital in the Food Sector: A Brief for True Cost Accounting Considerations

Olivia Riemer, Alexander Müller, Sebastian Hanss-Mirodone

The Brief provides an overview of the concept of social capital, how it is linked to food- and farming-related businesses, and why it determines business failure and success.

True Cost – From Costs to Benefits in Food and Farming project 2-pager

Brochure

True Cost – From Costs to Benefits in Food and Farming project 2-pager

TMG Research gGmbH

True Cost - From Costs to Benefits in Food and Farming is an initiative of various market leaders in the food and farming sector who, in cooperation with EY, want to develop, pilot and implement integrated reporting guidelines for the food and farming.

 TEEB for Agriculture & Food: Scientific and Economic Foundations

Report

TEEB for Agriculture & Food: Scientific and Economic Foundations

Alexander Müller, Patrick Holden, Peter May, Kathleen Merrigan, Danielle Nierenberg, Walter Pengue, Jules Pretty, Maryam Rahmanian, Ruth Richardson, Pavan Sukhde, Abdou Tenkouano

This ‘Scientifc and Economic Foundations’ report addresses the core theoretical issues and controversies underpinning the evaluation of the nexus between the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services and externalities.

Learn more about our activities

Check out our different channels where we publish articles, videos, and analysis of global and local debates

TMG Think Tank for Sustainability consists of TMG Research gGmbH, an independent, non-partisan, non-for-profit organisation registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 186018 B, USt.-ID: DE311653675) and TMG - Töpfer Müller Gaßner GmbH, a private company registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 186018 Bm USt.-ID: DE311653675).

Our main address is EUREF Campus 6-9, 10829 Berlin, Germany.

© 2021 TMG Think Tank for Sustainability. All Rights Reserved.