Prince Charles praises Eosta’s “true cost” food study

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HRH Prince Charles and Eosta CEO Volkert Engelsman

Long-time advocate of organic farming, HRH Prince Charles has publicly shown his support for Eosta’s “true cost” accounting study.

Speaking during the Harmony in Food and Farming Conference, held recently at Llandovery College in Wales, HRH congratulated the international distributor of fresh organic fruit and vegetables for its study.

The report examines “the real bottom line” of food production, comparing organic against conventional products and how they impact on the environment, concluding that organics is significantly cheaper when all costs are considered.

It also looked into food production impacts on health, climate, water and soil erosion, something that rarely features in the balance sheets of companies.

And one of the major findings was that organic apples were €0.19 (£0.17) cheaper per kilo compared against conventional apples.

During the conference, Eosta presented the results of the ‘True Cost Accounting in Farming and Finance’ pilot programme, which builds on the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, originally established in 2004.

The programme offers a practical tool to helps farmers, food companies and financial institutions to monetise the hidden impacts of modern farming practises on the planet and people.

The report was personally presented to Prince Charles by Eosta CEO Volkert Engelsman at the Llwynywermod Estate, one of the Prince’s farms.

Prince Charles spoke about how society and our economy needs an inclusive approach and warned the farming industry against concentrating too much on the financial bottom line, claiming that continuing this type of thinking could derail humanity’s place on earth.

“We have found large differences between the impacts of organic and conventional production. For example, the calculation shows a 19 euro cents per kilo advantage for organic apples in health impact,” says Eosta CEO Volkert Engelsman.

“The report makes clear that organic food is not too expensive, but rather conventional food is too cheap.”

Eosta’s pilot calculated the impact costs of soil erosion and water pollution for several products across its fruit and vegetable portfolio, including organic apples from Argentina and organic oranges from South Africa. These numbers were compared with non-organic products and the report also included an integrated profit and loss statement for Eosta; one of the first to be published for a SME company worldwide.

The “True Cost Accounting” approach was developed in 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.

 
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