Yara Studio: Problem Statement 1

Capturing the true cost of food

How can the global food system become more sustainable? What can be done on a policy level to accelerate progress and adoption, also looking towards and supporting future partnerships in the food value chain?

While we understand that there is a clear need to move towards a more sustainable food system, and that this is beneficial for both people and the planet, there is little that is done to examine how we might accelerate that by working with policy makers to help price in the environmental, social and economic externalities and the long-term damage that is caused. We need to encourage partnerships between businesses and the public sector that help shape the way in which consumers access food – to prioritise responsible production and consumption. 

Many other sectors have benefitted from a favourable policy environment that has placed an emphasis on responsible consumption, thereby accelerating such a transition – for example, the adoption of electric cars in Norway. Enabling policy mechanisms, such as the effective use of incentives, have significantly reduced the cost to consumers considerably. Such temporary measures can help overcome initial adopter costs and help reach volume, before increased demand and economies of scale help ensure wide-spread affordability.

The challenge: How might we create the enabling infrastructure and incentives within the food system that sufficiently capture environmental, social, and economic externalities?