Integrated hotspot analysis: negatieve en positieve impact van voedsel

True Price en Wageningen Economic Research hebben in opdracht van het ministerie van Economische Zaken een methodiek ontwikkeld waarmee positieve en negatieve maatschappelijke effecten van de productie en consumptie van voedsel in beeld kunnen worden gebracht. Het doel is om bedrijven en consumenten hiermee meer mogelijkheden te geven beslissingen te nemen die bijdragen aan een duurzamere voedselketen. Lees het kamerstuk van de Staatssecretaris van Economische Zaken hier.

De effecten

Positieve effecten van voedsel zijn bijvoorbeeld: meer werkgelegenheid, hogere salarissen, kennisopbouw en meer gezondheid. Negatieve effecten zijn onder meer: klimaatverslechtering, watervervuiling, biodiversiteitsverlies, kinderarbeid en onderbetaling. Uit het onderzoek blijkt dat een berekening van de ‘echte’ prijs in euro’s van voedselproducten, waarin alle externe effecten zijn meegenomen complex en op korte termijn nog niet haalbaar is. Daarvoor is bijvoorbeeld niet voldoende data beschikbaar. De nu ontwikkelde nieuwe methodiek kan daarentegen snel worden uitgevoerd, en is tegelijkertijd objectief en empirisch onderbouwd.

De nieuwe methodiek

De methodiek is als casestudie toegepast op vijf voedselproducten: tafelaardappel, verse sperziebonen uit de vollegrond, volle melk, rundergehakt uit de melkveehouderij en pure chocolade. Uit de studie blijkt bijvoorbeeld dat melk relatief positief scoort op gezondheid en negatief op luchtkwaliteit. Sperziebonen scoren relatief positief op de gezondheid van de consument en heeft een beperkt effect op de waterkwaliteit. Een nadeel van de sperzieboon is dat er per euro bonen veel land nodig is en dat er in vergelijking tot het gemiddeld voedselproduct veel mest wordt gebruikt, wat leidt tot broeikasgasemissies en een achteruitgang van de biodiversiteit. Wageningen Economic Research en True Price zullen de methodiek de komende periode verder uitwerken voor een aantal andere voedingsproducten.

In welk mate producten maatschappelijke effecten hebben, wordt in figuur 1 weergegeven. De systematiek kan op alle voedselproducten worden toegepast. De methodiek geeft geen absolute oordelen over of iets goed of slecht is, maar relatieve scores ten opzichte van gemiddelde effecten van voedsel.

Figuur 1: Maatschappelijke effecten van de productie en consumptie van volle melk

Integrated hotspot analysis
De zes kapitalen van het IIRC
Er is gekozen voor de indeling van zes kapitalen van het International Integrated Reporting Council, onder meer omdat deze het beste aansluit bij de verslaggevingspraktijk van bedrijven in Nederland. De zes gehanteerde kapitalen zijn financieel, geproduceerd, intellectueel, natuurlijk, sociaal en menselijk kapitaal. Binnen deze kapitalen zijn er in totaal 38 impactcategorieën (specifieke maatschappelijke effecten) onderscheiden om alle relevante maatschappelijke effecten van voedsel te dekken. Deze effecten worden beoordeeld als een relatieve score van een product op voor het effect op een kapitaal ten opzichte van een gemiddeld product.

Lees het volledige onderzoek en voorstel van True Price en WUR hier

Integrated Hotspot Analysis: the negative and positive impacts of food

Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, True Price and Wageningen Economic Research have developed an approach where positive and negative societal effects of the production and consumption of food can be monitored. The goal is to ultimately provide businesses and consumers with more possibilities to take decisions which will result in contributing to a more sustainable food chain. Read the letter of the State Secretary of Economic Affairs Martijn van Dam here.   

The effects

The new approach has been applied to five food products. Potatoes, fresh green beans, whole milk, minced beef from the dairy farm and pure chocolate. Examples of positive effects of food are: more employment, higher salaries, knowledge building and increased health. Negative effects are e.g. climate change, water pollution, biodiversity, child labor and underpayment.

The results of the study show e.g. that milk scores relatively positive on health but negative on quality. Green beans score relatively positive on consumer health and have limited effects on water quality. A disadvantage of green beans is that cultivation requires a lot of land and that in comparison to the average food product a lot of fertilizer is needed. This results in greenhouse gas emissions and a decline of biodiversity. Wageningen Economic Research and True Price will further apply the method on more food products in the near future.
The results of the negative and positive impacts of the average food product are displayed in figure 1. This systematic approach is universal and can be applied to all food products. The methodology does not give absolute outcomes to whether something is good or bad, but rather shows relative scores compared to average effects of food.

Figure 1: The societal effects of the production and consumption of pure chocolate. 

cc

The six capitals of the IIRC

The most material positive and negative impacts in the supply chain of a product are mapped. Material impacts are those impacts that have a considerable (potential) effect on society. The analysis results in a compilation of impact ‘hotspots’, categorized into financial, manufactured, intellectual, natural, social and human impacts for each step in the supply chain. This is in line with the recommendations of the ‘International Integrated Reporting Council’.

Read the full report of True Price and WUR here

Landscape valuation: Why pricing shared land is necessary

True Price conducted an innovative natural capital valuation analysis on the different land uses in the Maasai steppe, Tanzania. The region is home to pastoralist herders and is famous for its ecosystems that attract tourists worldwide but it is undergoing a drastic change.

There is an increasing trend of agricultural land conversion that is leading to a loss of habitat for iconic animals and loss of grazing areas for pastoralist herders. A natural capital monetary valuation study shows that conversion of steppe into farmland will result in overall natural capital loss. If the agricultural land conversion is not slowed in the coming decades, it will result in a loss of 1.3 billion USD in terms of lost ecosystem benefits to the Tanzanian people. Ecosystem services affected include: milk, meat, tourism, raw materials, wild food and medicinal herbs, drinking water and tree products.

In the short term, agricultural land conversion increases food production and productivity. However, True Price’s research shows that in the long term this practice leads to a decline in agricultural productivity since the common form of agriculture in the region is not sustainable and land is degraded and abandoned.

The following figure demonstrates the internal natural capital value of the Maasai Steppe, representing the discounted value of present and future benefits of alternative scenarios in USD.

internal natural capital value

Figure 1: Value of natural capital in the Maasai steppe in 3 scenarios of land conversion from glassland to farmland.

Economic benefits can be protected by slowing down the pace of land conversion from grasslands to farmland. Our livestock study with UNEP TEEB identifies options to facilitate a transtion towards more sustainable agricultural practices. A suggested mechanism to encourage this is to financially incentivise pastoralists to protect their land, to be paid for by other ecosystem beneficiaries, in the case of the steppe this is tourism operations. This economic mechanism would facilitate the internatlization of positive externalities, and gives hope to the future shared natural capital value of the Maasai steppe.

Find the full report for UNEP TEEB on their TEEBAgriFood page, created by True Price, Trucost and Wageningen University

 

SDG Food Initiative

It is widely known that transformation of the agri-food system is crucial to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This point is stressed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The Director General, José Graziano da Silva states: ‘The SDGs are interlinked and interdependent. But SDGs 1 [poverty] and 2 [hunger] are particularly central to achieving the overall agenda. Many of the goals, such as health and education, cannot be achieved without Zero Hunger’. Hans Eenhoorn of Worldconnectors, former vice President of Unilever (Foods) and member of the United Nations Task Force on Hunger puts it as: ‘We cannot accept a world in which one billion wealthy people are getting sick from over-consumption (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases etc.) whilst simultaneously one billion people are starving from food shortages, rendering so many physically and mentally incapacitated’.

 

Table: an overview of the food related SDG’s.

SDG table
The Dutch government, private sector and civil society have taken many initiatives to work towards making the food sector more sustainable. The Dutch government highlights the need to address methane emissions and obesity in a CBS report  and its efforts for food security and nutrition in a recent report. The private sector has taken dozens of initiatives, as shown in a report (in Dutch) by food business association FNLI. Civil society, organizations such as Hivos and Fairtrade International are working internationally to tackle hunger, poverty and agricultural sustainability, creating a Food Change Lab and Living Wage Benchmarks respectively.

The need for a Dutch SDG Food Roadmap

Whilst ambitions are high we lack a clear policy vision. This includes a roadmap, an overview of initiatives, and a clear monitoring system. The roadmap should give active food sector parties a clear idea of what actions should be taken, when and by whom. An overview of initiatives should show the gaps or successes and prevent complacency. A monitoring system should track progress and stimulate new activity where needed. A fine example of a roadmap for the energy sector for 2030 is Het Nationale Energie Akkoord. Without a policy vision, the Netherlands holds a short-sighted agenda to tackle the global food related SDGs.

The launch of the SDG Food Initiative (SFI)

HAS Hogeschool, True Price, the SDG Charter and Worldconnectors aim to contribute to the development of an SDG 2 (and 12.3) policy vision using their expertise and leverage through the SDG Food Initiative (SFI). At the end of 2016, 40 food sector representatives stressed the need for this initiative at Transform Your World. Now the SFI is being carried forward by discussion between sector representatives on creating the policy vision. There are multiple ways to become involved:

Create a profile and upload your food related initiatives on the SDG Gateway: a ‘go to’ environment where Dutch SDG initiatives can be promoted and discovered.

Join the SDG Charter Event on September 25 for a workshop surrounding the SFI: Tickets here

Support initiatives or seek sector expertise, reach out to Rosalie de Bruijn through rosalie@sdgcharter.nl.

Visit the Worldconnectors’ website to keep track of recent updates of de SDG Food Initiative’s activities.

 

 

 

Rose farming in Kenya

Although great progress is being made on sustainability in the rose sector in Kenya, worker’s wages need to double or even triple for them to sufficiently provide for themselves and their families, as suggested in the P+magazine article. The results communicated in this article is sourced from a True Price study made in partnership with the NGO Hivos. This article also describes the vulnerability of women workers to gender discrimination and sexual violations, often trust is abused when depending on overtime and other in-kind benefits. A key CSR study cites that sexual harassment and intimidation occurs in half the Kenyan rose farms assessed.

LWRoses.2

This infographic gives an impression of an actual wage and the gap to reach a living wage for single and double parent households. True Price’s Living Wage study finds that over half of women working in Kenyan Rose farms are single mothers and are the sole provider for their families.

Read our report on the business case for a living wage in Kenyan rose farming. This was an assignment comissioned by the international NGO Hivos.

Follow us @TruePrice to find out how else we contribute to the case for a Living Wage.