The Externalities Working Group aims to make visible the full costs of producing food by investing in efforts to identify, measure and value the positive and negative environmental, social and health externalities of food and agricultural systems, and to deploy innovative strategies to affect associated policy and market change.

The Externalities Working Group supports the following projects and initiatives:

TEEBAgriFood briefing note cover

A Briefing Note on the TEEBAgriFood Initiative

March 2017 Briefing Note was prepared by the Global Alliance to provide members and other key stakeholders an update on where the TEEBAgriFood initiative is at, and what next steps are for 2017/2018.Read More

The Future of Food and Agriculture: Quantifying the Social and Environmental Benefits and Costs of Different Production Systems

To address the need for a true cost accounting of food systems, Dr. Harpinder Sandhu, of Flinders University, South Australia, has developed a new assessment tool which identifies, quantifies and monetises these costs. This would allow food prices to be adjusted, by various policy mechanisms, to reflect its true production cost.Read More


The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgriFood)

A study housed at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that will define and carry out a methodology for measuring positive and negative externalities related to food and agriculture production, processing, distributing and consumption around the globe. Members of the Working Group are providing funding to the study, as well as actively participating on the Steering Committee and disseminating the study results.Read More

Sustainable Food Trust True Cost of American Food Conference 2016

In April 2016 the Global Alliance for the Future of Food sponsored the Sustainable Food Trust’s True Cost of American Food Conference, which brought together thought-leaders and interested citizens to explore the reasons why food from the most damaging production systems appear cheap, when its real cost to the environment and public health is very high. The two-day conference featured plenary  sessions  and smaller, focused parallel sessions.Read More

real cost of food

The Real Cost of Food: Examining the Social, Environmental, and Health Impacts of Producing Food

Funded by the Global Alliance, this Food Tank report aims to provide an overview of the current work being done on true cost accounting and help point a way forward for future work on this issue. It is meant to be a call to action and to instill better accounting measures in food and agricultural production.Read More