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In the True Cost Flower, some costs are "unavailable." Why?

We have not provided numbers for Biodiversity and Social costs, because the FAO model does not offer sufficient tools yet. This is partly due to the fact that FAO’s aim was to calculate the True Cost of global food waste, not of food production, which led to a different focus.


For biodiversity, the FAO model now only looks at the effects of pesticide use and P/N (potassium/nitrogen)leaching. The model only gives a fixed amount per hectare which is a global average, independent of crop type or farming method; there is no way to distinguish between crops or farmers. The model does not take into account the benefits or costs of any farm management techniques like landscaping, flower borders, natural areas on the farm grounds, crop rotation, agro-biodiversity, green cover, weed control, no-tillage techniques, etc.

Social costs

For social costs, the FAO model now only considers the effect of soil erosion. It does not take into account the effects of the cultural, social, and economic policies of producers and companies, for example the treatment of employees, educational programs, the attitude towards women and minorities, etc. The effect of landscape degradation (or improvement) other than erosion is also ignored.

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