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The study „True Cost Accounting in Farming and Finance”, commissioned by the Dutch company Eosta, calculated the actual cost of producing food - an undertaking praised by Prince Charles.
For the first time numbers are put on the effects of modern agriculture on people and the environment and the costs that are caused. Selected Eosta products were investigated and the issues the study examined included the extent to which the manufacturing of these products impacts on climate, soil erosion, water pollution and people's health. Organically grown fruit was compared with its conventionally grown counterpart.
The results of the study, carried out by Ernst&Young, were presented by Volkert Engelsman, the CEO of Eosta BV, at the “Harmony in Food and Farming Conference” in Wales. He said: “We found big differences between the effect of true cost accounting on organic food and conventional food,” and he added that the study made it clear that organic food is not too expensive, but that conventionally produced food is too cheap.
Prince Charles: “True cost accounting includes the damage caused by food production”
The study built on the project “Accounting for Sustainability” founded by Prince Charles. At the conference in Wales he warned against the notion that in the economy and farming “all that matters is the bottom line. If we continue on that path humanity's place on earth could be derailed for good.” He had already said on a previous occasion: “We have to find a way of valuing in financial terms the increasing damage done to the earth’s life support systems by our food production. It is the economic invisibility of nature that is the root of the problem. The value of the planet’s ecosystems has not been taken into account fully and consistently in our decision making systems. We should include the true costs in the bottom line of our profit calculation, rather than exclude them. Otherwise our capacity to feed the world’s rising population, on the back of an increasingly weakened ecosystem, will lead to conflict and misery on an unimaginable scale.”