Our approach to food production and consumption affects the environment, health, and prosperity of communities and nations.
True Cost Accounting (TCA) encourages decision-makers to adopt a systems perspective, offering an innovative approach that illuminates how to make choices that mitigate externalized costs and enhance beneficial outcomes for all.
The resources below have been developed to help government and corporate leaders explore the nuanced relationship between food systems and global challenges. These tools and materials can be used to inform decisions that must balance tradeoffs and budgets while enhancing value to society and the environment.
TCA General Resources
True Cost Accounting for Food features research and case studies from around the world to demonstrate the value of TCA to address the pervasive imbalance in existing food systems. (open access)
TCA Tools and Frameworks
Overview of TEEBAgriFood, the foundational approach for systematic food system evaluations.
Analysis of 35 frameworks, methodologies, and tools available for public and private-sector decision-makers to conduct food systems assessments. Commissioned by the TCA Accelerator.
TCA Implementation Guidance
A guide to support applications of the TEEBAgriFood framework.
Guidelines developed to support businesses in implementing the TEEBAgriFood Evaluation Framework, offering a practical way to understand and act upon their impact and dependency on natural, human, social, and produced capital.
A methodology based on the four capitals approach of the TEEBAgriFood framework for plant-based products.
An online course introducing business representatives to True Cost Accounting via the capitals approach, teaching how to integrate natural, social, and human capitals into decision-making.
TCA Analysis and Case Studies
An assessment of how TCA can help overcome siloed thinking and support collaborative efforts to reduce food loss and waste throughout the whole UK food system.
An analysis of the true costs of sustainable and healthy food to develop a concept on how TCA can be argued to policymakers, starting from the vantage point of sustainable diets.
A U.S. focused report outlining the true cost of food, including the ‘hidden’ impacts on human health, the environment, biodiversity, livelihoods, proving that they are at least 3x higher than what consumers already pay.
A TCA assessment of school-meals programs, indicating that while they cost $18.7 billion USD/year to run, they provide nearly $40 billion USD in human health and economic benefits.
Using TCA, this report finds that UK citizens pay twice as much for food as they realize. More TCA-focused resources from the SFT can be found here.
An overview of six food systems initiatives that used TCA to understand the breadth and depth of their positive impacts.
Externalized Costs: Making the Case for TCA
A report that indicates the dominant industrial food system incurs ‘hidden’ costs estimated at almost $12 trillion per year, and presents a reform agenda – centered around ten critical transitions.
An assessment of the methodological and data gaps that need to be filled to make TCA more robust, consistent and user-friendly.