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As a conscious consumer I pay more for my food, but I also pay taxes that are used to offset hidden costs. Am I paying double?

Unfortunately, yes. Sustainable consumers and producers are punished for the fact that they act responsibly.

The government should provide an equal playing field which it could do by rewarding sustainable production (with few hidden costs) or alternatively, by punishing unsustainable production (with high hidden costs). Practically speaking, there are three ways to accomplish this:

  1. One way to do this is to make the polluter pay, based on true-cost estimates; this would lead to more realistic prices for conventional food.
  2. Another way to do this is to subsidize sustainable production; this would enable sustainable producers to sell at lower prices.
  3. A third way would be to reduce VAT on sustainable products; this would lead to cheaper sustainable food directly.

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