VBDO report: 10% of Dutch listed companies calculate externalities

VBDO has assessed whether 68 Dutch stock listed companies have a policy and/or project in place to calculate the externalities of its business practices, or a part thereof. 10% of the companies within scope do. Examples are True Price’s partners AzkoNobel, DSM, BAM and Philips. True Price works with these companies in a number of different projects, on research and knowledge dissemination. The findings were presented in the report ‘Sustainability performance of Dutch stock listed companies’. This report provides insight into the status quo of sustainability performance of the largest Dutch stock-listed companies, focusing on VBDO’s priority themes and a number of other indicators. One of the indicators is looking at integrating externalities.

From the report: “’hidden’ costs, or ‘negative externalities’, are costs of land use, carbon emissions, underpayment or child labor relating to the value chain of products and services. These costs often remain unpaid for and are invisible to consumers. The “True Price” is the price of a product or service, in which social and environmental externalities are integrated. Providing insight in these externalities enables consumers, investors and producers to make a more balanced choice for a product or service, in which all economic, social and environmental costs are integrated”. Read more here.

Report IMF: Calculate the True Price of Energy

Recently, the IMF has launched a new book “Getting Energy Prices Right. From Principles to Practice.”

In the book a team of IMF fiscal experts calculated the costs of climate change, pollution, traffic accidents and congestion related to coal, natural gas, diesel and gasoline consumption.

The central finding of the report is that countries need not wait for international agreement to get the energy prices right for international agreement. The report emphasizes the importance of tax neutral fiscal reforms rather thAn higher taxes.

The book and accompanying data are available on IMF’s website.

Find above a video that shows the plenary contributions during the launch of the publication on July 31, in Washington, including a speech (link) of IMF’s President Christine Lagarde.

Reblog Feike Sijbesma in The Guardian: "Shift to a circular economy is under way, from crop waste to solar"

In reality, there are no scarce resources, we just make them scarce. Through new supply chains, technology and policy, we can secure a future for generations

By Feike Sijbesma, CEO Royal DSM

In te above image, children look for recyclables at a dump in Paranaque. In a circular economy, waste will be input for next round(s) of producing products. Photograph: Ezra Acayan/Demotix/Corbis

We are currently in a linear economy. We find and extract raw materials, including agricultural products, we process and consume these and then throw our goods away, even calling them “waste”. Today, members of the Circular Economy 100 along with business and academic leaders meet in London for the annual Circular Economy 100 summit to explore systemic issues surrounding the move towards a circular system, where all kinds of – intermediate – forms of waste will be the input for the next round(s) of producing products.

With a circular approach we can address the big challenges regarding the world food problem, the uneven distribution and consumption of raw materials, waste, climate change and developing new (bio-) renewable alternative energy sources.

For more of his blog, please visit the original article on: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/shift-circular-economy-crop-waste-solar.

True Price & Tony’s Chocolonely Raise the Bar

At the annual Tony’s Fair, Tony’s Chocolonely published their Jaarfairslag 2014 (annual report, in Dutch), in which they announced that they intend to reduce the negative impact of their bar to zero by 2019. Tony’s has set this ambition on the basis of research of True Price.

Since 2012, Tony’s Chocolonely has been buying their cocoa beans directly from farmer cooperatives in Ivory Coast and Ghana: ‘from bean to bar’.  Besides sourcing Fairtrade and organic cocoa from Ghana, the farmers are even paid an additional premium. Tony’s Chocolonely was looking for a way to know, show, and improve the environmental and social costs of the cocoa. What is the impact of the premium? Which additional steps can they take to improve living conditions and environmental impacts? And how does Tony’s perform compared to non-sustainable alternatives?

“Tony’s Chocolonely is always looking for innovative ways to raise awareness and find solutions. In this context, our collaboration with True PriceTM is an interesting opportunity. This project allows us to quantify our progress, focus our attention, and refine our strategy.” – Arjen Boekhold, Chain Director

True Price’s role
True Price conducted a True Price scan to determine the footprint and monetize social & environmental costs like CO2 emissions, forced labour and income distribution throughout Tony’s supply chain. Our experts executed a similar exercise for non-sustainable cocoa to create a sector benchmark.

First outcomes
The True Price™ scan for Tony’s Chocolonely made negative externalities more visible and provided valuable insights into the opportunities for process improvement within Tony’s supply chain:

Tony’s is on the right track:
– Tony´s footprint was 40% lower than that of the average non-sustainable chocolate bar in 2013.
– Sustainable certifications are not substantial enough and much more investment is needed.
– The premium of at least 25% given to the farmers results in a higher net income & more training for local farmers.

Identified opportunities to improve:
Underpayment, land use, child & forced labour identifies, health care and knowledge-building of farmers are areas where Tony’s makes & can make a difference.
– Around 70% of environmental costs are at farm level. Land use, productivity, cacao prices, offer a room for improvement.

A peek into the future:
If all measures succeed, the future is bright: Tony’s aims to eliminate all environmental and social costs in their supply chain by 2019.