The Hidden Costs of American Food event convened on the afternoon of 26 June 2019 in Washington, DC, the US, to discuss the concept of true cost accounting (TCA) as a tool to account for the impacts food systems have on environment, health and social dimension, and whether it is time for such a tool to be applied in US policy decision making.
The event involved presentations by expert panelists, followed by an interactive discussion with the participants. Panelists focused how the TCA can provide the opportunity to align food systems with environmental, health and social policy to ensure food policies do not exacerbate climate change, biodiversity loss, and human health impacts. The ensuing discussion explored current and prospective challenges to developing and applying TCA approaches, methodologies, and tools, and achieving their uptake by policy makers, including US policy makers, as well as by the private sector.
Co-sponsored by Arizona State University’s (ASU) Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems and TMG Research gGmbH, the event built on the work of the Evaluation Framework released in 2018 by the Agriculture and Food offshoot of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity global initiative (“TEEBAgriFood”). The Framework seeks to contribute to comprehensive valuations of the eco-agri-food systems complex and demonstrate the externalities of farming systems, both negative and positive, in order to raise awareness of interlinkages among produced, natural, social, and human capital.
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