Global Experts to Meet in Brussels to Discuss Economic Costs of Food System

Global Experts to Meet in Brussels to Discuss Economic Costs of Food System
From foodtank.com, by Kathlee Freeman

The goal of the global initiative Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is to “make nature’s value visible.” The externalities of ecosystem services including clean air and water, raw materials, and food, are often overlooked by businesses and decision makers.  

TEEB’s approach aims to recognize, demonstrate, and capture these externalities and assign value to ecosystems. Once ecosystem values are clearly understood, methods like price signaling and incentive programs can nudge businesses into minimizing the environmental costs of  production, transportation, and marketing of their products. Expressing these services in economic terms also provides stakeholders and political leaders with a clear understanding of how to incorporate costs into policy.

TEEB for Agriculture and Food specifically examines the links between ecosystems and food. While farming provides benefits like food, jobs, and fiber, there are also negative externalities such as soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and contributions to global warming through livestock and crop production. Currently, TEEB for Agriculture and Food is working with leaders from the agriculture, business, science, and public policy sectors to place a value on the “eco-agri-food-systems complex.”

In addition to conducting feeder studies around the world, which will be presented in December 2015, an expert workshop is planned for September 8-11, 2015 in Brussels. This meeting will review and identify gaps in the feeder studies, finalize a framework, and determine the content and structure of reports. Those interested in attending should submit an application to teeb.agfood@unep.org.

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