During a panel discussion organized by Food Tank, the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), experts discuss the need to account for the impacts of the food system on the environment and communities.

The event is part of a series of panels with themes inspired by Global Alliance’s Seven Calls to Action to transform the food system. Moderated by Ruth Richardson, Executive Director of the Global Alliance and Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank, each conversation features members of the United Nations Food Systems Champions Network.

The third Call to Action and the panel discussion focus on the hidden costs and benefits of agricultural systems. Panelists include Joao Campari, Global Leader of WWF’s Food Practice; Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome; Naoko Ishii, Director of the Center for Global Commons at University of Tokyo; and Michael Taylor, Secretariat Director of the International Land Coalition (ILC).

“Today’s dominant, simplistic, economic productivity metrics like yield per hectare don’t capture all the many, many ways food systems impact the world around us,” Richardson begins. These impacts can be negative — habitat destruction, soil erosion, water contamination, and chronic health issues —  as well as positive — carbon sequestration and insect pollination.

Richardson explains that all of these are unaccounted for in the final price of food. But some organizations such as the Global Alliance are working to change that with true costs accounting (TCA). Intended to take these externalities into consideration, TCA was developed to give stakeholders a more holistic understanding of the food system.

Read the full article about the hidden costs of the food system at Food Tank.