True Price featured in The New Yorker

 

How much do things really cost?

On April 2nd True Price was featured in The New Yorker.

This extensive article talks about our story, beginning around 15 years ago when Michel Scholte and Adrian De Groot Ruiz met at a student debating society, and brings us till this day and our work with De Aanzet, Tony Chocolonely, and more.

”Simply talking about true prices can be useful. Products do not have a “true” price in the way that an element has an atomic mass. Yet the questions that true prices raise are not hopelessly subjective. Most people agree that we should outlaw the production of goods made by slaves and young children working in dangerous conditions. The research done at True Price and elsewhere simply proposes that we apply the same thinking to a broader set of issues: a living wage for adults, freedom from harassment, physically safe working conditions, environmentally sustainable production techniques, and so on. This is the most basic sense in which true prices are “true”—they capture the deep moral intuition that human rights and the natural world should not be violated for the production of cheap goods. With time, better studies will refine our understanding of the costs of restoring freshwater ecosystems poisoned by fertilizer runoff, or of providing school for agricultural families in rural Ghana. What we already know, however, is that excluding such costs from the prices of goods presents consumers, governments, and businesses with false information about the world. And this is a form of lying—about nature, economics, and one another.”


Read the article here.

Illustration by Nicholas Konrad / The New Yorker

We are now part of the joint UN Initiative on the True Value of Food

True Price and Impact Institute have worked with the Scientific Group of the UNFSS & Action Track 1, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GAFF) Rabobank, the World Benchmark Initiative and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to realize a joint initiative on the true value of food, including true pricing.

The Initiative on the True Value of Food represents a community of experienced experts who stand ready to support country efforts to consider, trial, implement and evaluate true cost, value, and price of food actions and policy change.

The global food system has many hidden costs, including high rates of diet-related chronic disease, the impacts of climate change, and unfair wages that are not included in prices and profits that are ignored by markets. The global food system also has many hidden benefits that are also not fully reflected in food prices: healthy food is a basic need with many economic and social benefits, and well-functioning food systems allow farmers and workers to earn a decent livelihood.

By creating transparency about the costs and benefits and applying appropriate incentives and disincentives across food systems, we can ensure more sustainable, healthful, and fairer food systems in the future and create real value for economic growth, society and businesses.

The UNFSS Scientific Group’s paper on the topic provides the estimation of these costs at the global level: the costs are estimated to be US$19.8 trillion per year, these costs include $7 trillion of environmental costs and $12 trillion of health costs (of which $11 trillion of loss of human life and $1 trillion of economic costs of illness). Preparations for the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) that took place on September 23rd, 2021 has highlighted the urgency for action on these hidden costs and benefits.

Actions of the Initiative will include developing a new economic basis for decision making – one that accounts for the True Value of Food. This new basis will guide the decisions made by – consumers, businesses, financial institutions, investors, and policy-makers towards more positive outcomes for people, the planet and prosperity.

This new basis includes three elements:

  • True Cost Accounting (TCA) to systematically quantify and value impacts and dependencies across the full agri-food value chain to enable decision-making and policies based on true value.
  • True Value business strategies to develop and implement successful business models that create true value for society.
  • True pricing policies to internalize the externalities to make healthy and sustainable food more affordable and align market incentives with true value through market-based pathways, regulatory and income policies.

Integrating these elements into national food systems plans and creating a supportive policy environment for the implementation of strategies and actions to protect our people, planet, and prosperity will require coordinated action by all food systems stakeholders. The True Value of Food Initiative stands ready to support governments, businesses, and civil society in considering these approaches, sharing experiences, and implementing changes for fairer, more sustainable, and healthy food systems.

For more information, please read the Q&A on True Value of Food Initiative. Should you have any questions, please reach out to claire@impactinistitute.com.

The First True Price Store is Open

The world’s first True Price Store has opened!! We are open every Saturday in the shopping district of Amsterdam.

Let’s pay and offer our products free from poverty, exploitation, pollution, destruction, and climate change. Free ourselves from the banal duality that we indulge ourselves with beautiful stuff while also harming people and planet.

Finally, it’s possible to start paying the True Price. We are beginning with coffee and chocolate to remediate for underearning and climate change. We will add more products and remediation options for our shopping crates soon. And extend the opening days. It’s not perfect yet… But it’s the proof of concept that may inspire other stores, restaurants, supermarkets to follow. True Pricing can work globally if it works locally.

For a decade now, we have been developing and applying the method for true pricing worldwide – seeing and improving the social and environmental costs of a product. Current crises ask for scaled solutions for mass consumption. Let’s make our billions of purchase decisions every day, work sustainability.

Join the Blue Crate Movement.

Visit us at the True Price Store

Location: Haarlemmerplein 2, Amsterdam.

Opening hours: Every Saturday, 11:00-17:00.

True Price Hosts Solidaridad’s ‘Cheapest Store of the Netherlands’

Did you buy anything on Black Friday? A day known for having huge discounts on the stuff we buy. It’s a good time of the year to ask yourself: who pays the true price of cheap stuff?

For one day only, our partner Solidaridad turned our brand-new True Price Store into the ‘Cheapest Store of the Netherlands’ (De Goedkoopste Winkel van Nederland).

This pop-up awareness initiative drew attention to the price distribution of products we buy. The promotion offered consumers bananas, chocolate and coffee for the price that producers and farmers receive, which is a fraction of the price consumers pay at the supermarket.

The reality is that most farmers don’t make a living wage. For example, on average cocoa farmers only receive 7% of the price consumers pay at the supermarket goes to these farmers while the store receives 44% of the profit. This pop-up initiative aimed to share the unequal price distribution and what low prices mean for society and the environment.

Learn more by reading the articles on the right and follow the work of True Price by subscribing to our newsletter.

Learn more by reading about this pop-up imitative:

 

 

 

True Price is excited to announce the launch of the Impact Economy Foundation

Announcing the launch of the Impact Economy Foundation

True Price is excited to announce the launch of the Impact Economy Foundation.

The foundation aims to accelerate the transition from a financial economy to an impact economy. An impact economy is an economy in which work, entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology leads to well-being.

An economy that not only maximizes financial capital, but all capitals, including social, human, natural, produced, intellectual. That not only maximizes shareholder value, but value for all stakeholders, including employees, society, nature, and suppliers.

And an economy in which every professional is an Impact Professional.

The Impact Economy Foundation incubates open-source methods for Impact Statements – focused on businesses, investors, and institutions.

Together we will build a global community of Impact Professionals. Join our Impact Professionals LinkedIn Group and Impact Economy Foundation Page to stay up to date.

Learn more about our other organizations.