New milestone in moving towards True Price open standards!

Imagine a world where every product is priced for its true price, a price which considers social and environmental costs too, such as underpayment of workers and air pollution. Last month, this world became one step closer as True Price took an important step in its mission to enable everyone to know the true price of a product. Together with our friends at Wageningen University and Bionext we kicked-off a program on True and Fair Pricing to make true pricing methodology available to everyone as an open standard.

So what does this actually mean? This means that soon for example bakeries, banks, farmers can use these open source standards to have better insights on the true price of their products, reduce their environmental impact and improve the conditions of their employees. And it help can you choose environmentally and socially sound products by seeing their true price.

In the coming years we will work closely with many organizations such as ABN AMRO, Rabobank and the EKO foundation to determine the true price of products, amongst others of potatoes and tomatoes.

Michel Scholte, Executive Director at True Price: “We’re extremely happy to be chosen by the Dutch government Top Sector to further develop and share our standards on true pricing. Only by working together and sharing our insights we can move quickly to a world where we enable everyone to know the true price of food!”

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* This project is financially supported by the Dutch Topsector Agri & Food. Within the Topsector, private industry, knowledge institutes and the government are working together on innovations for safe and healthy food for 9 billion people in a resilient world.

Sustainability of food

How does sustainability influence our food?

This was the subject of Sustainable Food Event 2018 in Gouda.

On National Sustainability Day Adrian de Groot Ruiz, Co-founder and Director of True Price, introduced the concept of true pricing at the Sustainable Food Event Gouda. This event was inspirational and informative evening that our responsibility to choose sustainable food.

True Price contributed to the evening by sharing concrete examples of how food prices do not reflect the cost our food has on society and the environment.

True Price wants to raise consumers’ awareness of the background of products and goods. Typically, the retail price does not consider the external effect the production of goods has on society and environment. For that reason, True Price wants to make things transparent to calculate the real cost – or the true price– of products.

You can learn more about the true price of products and follow our journey by connecting with us on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Read about the Sustainable Food Event Gouda and the Fairtrade Gemeente Gouda year-round initiatives here (in Dutch).

The First Ever True Price of Bread

The True Price of bread

Bread is a basic element of diets across the world. Like many other agricultural products, production of grains leads to extraction of water, soil pollution, and the emission of Co2, all of which involve societal costs.

Together with Bakker van Vessem, True Price has now calculated the first true price of bread. Bakker van Vessem is a well-established bakery brand, running now for 111 years, with a consistent focus on creating unique and healthy baked goods. True Price compared their Harlemmer Meer Brood with a constructed average bread sold in Dutch supermarkets, with imported ingredients and conventional agricultural methods.

As shown in the image below, we found that the Haarlemmer Meer Brood from Bakker van Vessem had a true price of 17 eurocents, compared to 32 eurocents of conventional bread. The difference is explained by two main drivers: transport and chemical fertilizer use. Haarlemmer Meer Brood is produced and transported locally within the region thereby avoiding the higher impact of imported bread from other areas. Further, Bakker van Vessem use less manure fertilizer per hectare to keep the external cost low.

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Bakker van Vessem should be congratulated on their efforts to ensure that their bread reflects the true price of its production. While this is a huge improvement on the sector average, there is still work to be done. There are three key directions for improvement: increasing the use of organic fertilizer, compensation of Co2 emissions through certified remediation efforts such as tree planting, as well as the use of biogas in order to drive down societal energy costs.

The delicious line of bread by Bakker van Vessem is now available in 16 stores, and is the first bread that can be bought for the True Price. Find out if there is a bakery near you (website is in Dutch).

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.