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

True pricing reaches the shelves of yet another location!

Another milestone for the true pricing movement

During the True Price festival editions of the past 2 years, we announced the launch of the first supermarket with true prices and the first café with true prices.

Today we are proud to announce that as of the 14th of February, true pricing has reached the shelves of yet another location.

Deloitte’s Amsterdam office The Edge now offers coffee and tea at true prices, calculated by True Price! Employees and visitors of the building now get the chance to learn about the environmental and social impacts of their cup of coffee or tea and can voluntarily pay the true price.

The true price of coffee and tea at The Edge

For the calculation of the true prices of coffee and tea of Deloitte’s The Edge, eight environmental and social impacts were considered: climate change, water use, land use, air pollution, water pollution, use of scarce materials, child labour, and poverty. The additional costs of the various products ranges from a few cents to almost 1 euro depending on the beverage. The true price can be paid voluntarily, meaning that customers can choose whether to pay the standard price or also the additional true price gap. For the calculation of the true price of the coffee and tea, various steps in the supply are considered, among which cultivation (including the raw materials used at the farm), transport to and within the Netherlands and the use of energy at the coffee bar.

Remediation

The FairClimateFund is the platform chosen for the remediation of the externalities occurring in the value chain of the coffee and tea sold at The Edge. The true price payments will be used to finance and implement climate projects that result in less CO2 emissions, to protect trees and improve the living conditions for people in developing countries.

Michel Scholte on the assessment of true pricing for Deloitte

‘First, we assess the entire supply chain of a product. Then we identify any violations of human, sustainability, and labour rights within the supply chain, and finally, we calculate the cost of remediating these violations, based on the sum of restoring, compensating, preventing and possibly fining the violations.’ 

Join the True Price Festival 2021 on Black Friday!

Every year, consumption around Black Friday grows. The buying frenzy completely ignores the climate crisis and the human rights violations that come along with the production of many consumer goods. Following the success of last year, this year True Price organizes the second edition of the True Price Festival, to challenge Black Friday.

On November 26 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM you can follow the festival via a live stream, including keynotes in the line-up, an exciting True Price quiz and the opening of the brand new True Price café. True Price and the first supermarket with true prices, De Aanzet, will also show you what happens after consumer have paid the true price.

The True Price Festival is the perfect time to learn more about how we can consume differently.

You can now register for the Festival via the link below!

Made possible by our partners Yespers, Impact Institute and De Aanzet.

REGISTER

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.

Join us at the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit!

Become part of a global coalition that aims to make healthy and sustainable food profitable and affordable. How? By redefining the value of food through True Cost Accounting and redesigning the economics of food through true pricing, market players and governments can increase the true value food markets create for society!

Tune in on Tuesday July 27th at 1.30 – 2.20 PM CET for the Pre-Summit of the UN Food System Summit – Action Track 1. The session invites you to learn about the science and practical examples and to join us in shaping this coalition!

The Pre-Summit will set the stage for the UN Food Systems Summit, the global event in September, by bringing together diverse actors from around the world to leverage the power of food systems to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Please sign up for the Pre-Summit here.