Prince Charles acclaims ‘true cost’ food accounting study, after warning about dangers of current system

09.07.17 - HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales hosts an evening reception at Llwynywermod

HRH Prince Charles has congratulated leading organic fruit and vegetable specialist Eosta on a groundbreaking new report that studied the ‘true cost’ of producing organic fruit compared with conventional products, finding the former is significantly healthier. One of the major findings of the report, which focused on consequences of food production that never feature in balance sheets, such as impacts on health, climate, water quality and soil erosion, was that organic apples are 19 eurocents (£0.17) healthier per kilo than their conventional equivalents.

At the Harmony in Food and Farming Conference, held earlier this week at Llandovery College in Wales, Eosta presented the results of the innovative ‘True Cost Accounting in Farming and Finance’ pilot programme, which builds on the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, established in 2004. The Prince, a long-time advocate for organic farming, congratulated Eosta on the results.

Speaking during the conference, Prince Charles argued that our society needs a more inclusive approach ‘in the way our entire economy is geared’, warning against the notion that in economy and farming ‘all that matters is the bottom line’. If we continue on that path, he said, humanity’s place on earth could be ‘derailed for good’. The Prince’s remarks at the event followed previous statements in favour of True Cost Accounting tools. In December 2013, he said: “It is the economic invisibly of nature that is the root of the problem. We should include the true cost in the bottom line of our profit calculation, rather than exclude them.”

The True Cost Accounting for Food, Farming and Finance pilot which was presented at the conference, offers a practical tool to do just that: it helps farmers, food companies and financial institutions to monetise the hidden impacts of modern farming practices on planet and people. The report was personally presented to the Prince by Costa CEO Volkert Engelsman at the Llwynywermod Estate, one of the Prince’s farms.

The Harmony in Food and Farming Conference was organised by the Sustainable Food Trust, and was inspired by ‘Harmony’, the book which Prince Charles published in 2010. In the book, he argued that there are timeless underlying laws and principles behind our interaction with nature. An understanding of the principles of Harmony will better place us to address the climatic, ecological and public health challenges of our time.

Eosta developed its True Cost Accounting approach in close cooperation with EY (formerly Ernst & Young) and Soil & More, with support from Triodos Bank and Hivos. The work builds on earlier modelling by TEEbAg, A4S, FiBL, WHO, FAO, NCC and individual researchers.

Eosta is a leading European distributor of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, based in the Netherlands. Nature & More is its much lauded ‘trace & tell’ trademark which provides transparency about origins, sustainability and True Cost.