True Cost Accounting for Food

Balancing the Scale

Barbara Gemmill-Herren (Redaktør) ; Lauren E. Baker (Redaktør) ; Paula A. Daniels (Redaktør)

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. Les mer
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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.



Foreword: Why True Cost Accounting?
Guillermo Castilleja

Introduction: The Urgency of Now
Barbara Gemmill-Herren, Lauren E. Baker, Paula A. Daniels

Section One: The Power and Potential of True Cost Accounting

1. From Practice to Policy: New Metrics for the 21st Century
Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, Carl Obst

2. Cotton in Egypt: Assisting Decision-Makers to Understand Costs and Benefits
Helmy Abouleish, Thoraya Seada, Nadine Greiss

3. Upstream, Downstream: Accounting for the Environmental and Social Value of Water in the Andes
Marta Echavarria, Margaret Stern

Section Two: Thinking Systemically

4. Methods and Frameworks: The Tools to Assess Externalities
Harpinder Sandhu, Courtney Regan, Saiqa Perveen et al.

5. Health Impacts: The Hidden Costs of Industrial Food Systems
Cecilia Rocha, Emile Frison, Nick Jacobs

Section Three: From the Field

6. Harmonizing the Measurement of On-Farm Impacts
Patrick Holden, Adele Jones

7. Incentives to Change: The Experience of the Organic Sector
Gabor Figeczky, Louise Luttikholt, Frank Eyhorn, et al.

8. Transforming the Maize Treadmill: Understanding Social, Economic, and Ecological Impacts
Francisca Acevedo Gasman, Lauren E. Baker, Mauricio R. Bellon, et al.

9. Fostering Healthy Soils in California: Farmer Motivations and Barriers
Joanna Ory, Alastair Iles

Section Four: For the Public Good

10. The Real Cost of Unhealthy Diets
Sarah Reinhardt, Rebecca Boehm, Ricardo Salvador

11. True Cost Principles in Public Policy: How Schools and Local Government Bring Value to Procurement
Paula A. Daniels

12. Embedding TCA Within U.S. Regulatory Decision-Making
Kathleen A. Merrigan

13. International Policy Opportunities for True Cost Accounting in Food and Agriculture
Barbara Gemmill-Herren, Zoltan Kalman, Alexander Muller

Section Five: Through the Value Chain

14. The Business of TCA: Assessing Risks and Dependencies Along the Supply Chain
Tobias Bandel, Jan Koepper, Laura Mervelskemper et al.

15. Investing in the True Value of Sustainable Food Systems
Tim Crosby, Jennifer Astone, Rex Raimond

Section Six: To the Table

16. Trade-Offs: Comparing Meat and the Alternatives
Kathleen A. Merrigan

17. Dining Out: The True Cost of Poor Wages
Saru Jayaraman, Julia Sebastian

18. True Price Store: Guiding Consumers
Adrian de Groot Ruiz

Conclusion: Mobilizing the Power and Potential of True Cost Accounting
Nadia El-Hage Scialabba, Carl Obst, Kathleen A. Merrigan et al.

Om forfatteren

Barbara Gemmill-Herren, until she retired in 2015, was Delivery Manager, for the Major Area of Work on Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). She was previously Executive Director of Environment Liaison Centre International, an international environmental non-governmental organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is an Associate Faculty in the Masters of Sustainable Food Systems Program at Prescott College in Arizona, USA, and a Senior Associate of the World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya.

Lauren Baker is Senior Director of Programs with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, where she focuses on the intersections between food systems and health, climate change, agroecology and true cost accounting. Previously, Lauren led the Toronto Food Policy Council, and was the Founding Director of Sustain Ontario. Lauren teaches in the Global Food Equity program at the University of Toronto, and at Ryerson University, Canada.

Paula Daniels is Co-founder and Chair of the Center for Good Food Purchasing. She is a lawyer and public policy leader in environmental, food, and water policy, and has extensive experience in government through several appointed positions, including as Senior Advisor on Food Policy to Mayor Villairagosa of Los Angeles. She has been a faculty member at UCLA, Vermont Law School, and UC Berkeley.