Our research aims to improve current impact valuation methodologies, operationalise true cost accounting frameworks for food systems, and generate consensus for the valuation of non-carbon impacts from the production, processing and consumption of food (biodiversity loss, health care burden, poverty, etc.).
The research we do in collaboration with our partners drives:
- valuation of food system impacts for food system transformation
- the opportunity for leading companies to demonstrate sustainability performance and contribution to reducing food system impacts
- economic food policy at scale
If you’re interested in becoming a research partner, get in touch with the FoodSIVI team
The first FoodSIVI report Valuing the Impact of Food: Towards practical and comparable monetary valuation of food system impacts will be published in March 2020
What is the cost of the food we eat? What is the value of the sustainable products and practices in the food sector? How do we balance the short-term and private value that food provides with the longer-term and externalised costs taking their toll on nature, the communities of workers producing and processing food, human health, and more?
This report from the FoodSIVI project examines food impact costing, and whether the way that carbon is costed in terms of social and abatement costs of carbon footprints can be adjusted to estimate the longer-term and externalised costs of food production, processing and consumption. It argues that a footprint protocol solidifying what to measure and how to track footprint reduction should be developed. It finds unavoidable ethical choices and order of magnitude uncertainties inherent in both social and abatement costing, recommending that a consortium of intergovernmental and institutional actors and experts in collaboration with the food sector process should compile, set and update shadow prices associated to food footprints.
A model is outlined for comparable valuation that uses shadow prices for where and how impact and footprints occur. Non-linear corrections to impact costing for scarcity and interactions created by food’s multiple footprints, and risk-based corrections because of uncertainty, are among the topics discussed.
Reports from FoodSIVI Partners
We work with other true cost accounting initiatives to champion food system transformation through internalisation of the food system’s environmental, social and health externalities. Our partners include NGOs, academic and institutional coalitions, consultant social enterprises and business coalitions.
World Business Council Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
True Cost of Food: Unpacking the value of the food system
FReSH’s True Cost of Food discussion paper identifies methodological and data gaps to be filled to make true cost accounting (TCA) for food sector companies more robust, consistent and user-friendly. It also explores what is required to establish true cost approaches in the business environment, moving TCA from corporate sustainability teams to the desks of CEOs and CFOs of food companies. These organisational dimensions are especially critical in making TCA a core tool of strategic business decision-making.
Download the pdf of the report (4.7 MB)
The Impact Valuation Roundtable White Paper
The Impact Valuation Roundtable White Paper was shared publicly at WBCSD’s member event in March 2017. In the paper, the group of roundtable companies highlights ongoing challenges and commits to tackle them collaboratively, stating: “We will continue our engagement with stakeholders – in a supportive and critical way – in the development of simplification, convergence, operationalization and alignment on impact valuation methods and valuation coefficients.”
Download a pdf of the White Paper (611 KB)
The 2019 Social & Human Capital Protocol
The Protocol is a framework for businesses to measure and value their impacts and dependencies on people and society. It was designed to support effective business decision-making and communicate the full value business generates for society. It includes twenty company case studies, feedback from public consultation and is streamlined for use alongside the Natural Capital Protocol.
Download a pdf of the report (4.7 MB)
The Global Alliance for the Future of Food
TEEBAgriFood Scientific and Economic Foundations report
The TEEBAgriFood ‘Scientific and Economic Foundations’ report was developed to address the core theoretical issues and controversies underpinning the evaluation of the nexus between the agri-food sector, biodiversity and ecosystem services and externalities including human health impacts from agriculture on a global scale. Developed by teams of scientists, researchers and economists it argues the need for a ‘systems thinking’ approach, draws out issues related to health, nutrition, equity and livelihoods, and presents a Framework for evaluation and describes how it can be applied. It identifies broad uses of the Framework in theories and pathways for transformational change. Download a pdf of the report (6.2 MB)
The Food and Land Use Coalition
Growing Better: Ten Critical Transitions to Transform Food and Land Use
The academic and scientific community has articulated in the last five years a remarkable opportunity to transform food and land use systems, but as the challenges are growing, we need to act with great urgency. The global report from the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) proposes a reform agenda – centred around ten critical transitions – of real actionable solutions. If actioned, the transitions could boost progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement, help mitigate the negative effects of climate change, safeguard biodiversity, ensure more healthy diets for all, drastically improve food security and create more inclusive rural economies. The report performs a global food system impact valuation called the ‘hidden costs’ of the global food systems, and estimates the costs of not acting. Investment amounts and potential return for companies in the transformation are also costed.
Download a pdf of the report (28 MB)
The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium
2019 Report of the FABLE Consortium: Pathways to Sustainable Land-Use and Food Systems
FABLE was convened as part of the Food and Land-Use Coalition (FOLU). It aims to understand how countries can transition towards sustainable land-use and food systems. In particular, we ask how countries can collectively meet associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Paris Agreement. FABLE comprises 19 country teams, which develop data and modelling infrastructure to promote ambitious, integrated strategies towards sustainable land-use and food systems. The 2019 report of the FABLE consortium identifies sustainability targets for the global food system and details the pathways to 2030 to achieve them. Download a pdf of the report (14.6 MB)
Capitals Coalition (formerly the Natural Capital Coalition)
Natural Capital Protocol Food and Beverage Sector Guide
Farmers, traders, wholesalers, food manufacturing companies, and retailers together make up the world’s largest sector, generating an approximate global value of around USD 12.5 trillion based on revenue, or 17% of world GDP in 2013. The Natural Capital Protocol provides a standardized framework to help food and beverage sector businesses identify, measure, and value their impacts and dependences on natural capital.
Download a pdf of the guide (1.7MB)
The Business Case for True Pricing Report
Deloitte, EY, PwC and True Price compiled a report on the opportunities which monetizing social and environmental impact presents. The report includes case studies from Solvay, Kering, Infosys, DSM, BAM, Holcim, Hivos and Tony’s Chocolonely, illustrating how organizations use monetization to step up their management of externalities (an organisation’s costs or benefits to society). The report will help companies understand what monetizing is all about and how it can support the business case for sustainability.
Download a pdf of the report (4.6 MB)
Value Balancing Alliance
The Value Balancing Alliance e.V. is a non-profit organisation founded in 2019 and is supported by Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC, the OECD, leading universities and other stakeholders from government, civil society and standard-setting organisations. The alliance aims to create a standardised model for measuring and disclosing the environmental, human, social and financial value companies provide to society.
The Conference Board
Founded in 1916, The Conference Board (TCB) is the member-driven think tank that delivers insights to help its Members anticipate what’s ahead, improve their performance, and better serve society. TCB has produced two reports on impact valuation as an emerging mainstream method for impact reporting.