What is our current food system truly costing us?
The prevailing model of the industrial food system prioritizes certain metrics, namely crop yield and profit, to measure its success. However, these outcomes are achieved at the expense of many others. It is no secret that industrial farming leads to pollution, exploitation of human capital, and harmful emissions, among other negative outcomes. If we hope to feed our world’s growing population equitably, these overlooked outcomes—hidden costs—must be taken into account.
The TCA Accelerator is a global network that seeks to advance the utilization of true cost accounting (TCA) amongst private and public institutions. True cost accounting is an 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.” It looks beyond limited metrics such as crop yield to holistically consider four key pillars: Natural Capital, our world’s physical and biological resources; Human Capital, the knowledge, skills and competencies of individuals; Social Capital, networks that facilitate cooperation; Produced Capital, all manufactured, financial and intellectual capital.
The TCA Accelerator advances this practice through strategic communication, stakeholder engagement and scientific and policy analysis. It is part of Allied Initiatives, a consortium of independent organizations that share goals and values with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.
True cost accounting has been successfully deployed by governments to support transitions to agroecological farming practices, and is an essential tactic to create global transformation to our food systems.
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