Agriculture, Food and Beverage

Our food and agriculture is responsible for trillions of dollars of hidden costs, says the UN. Here’s why – and what can be done

Aerial shot of milling tractor.

The hidden environmental costs of food and agriculture add up to $2.9 trillion, the FAO estimates. Image: Pexels/Tom Fisk

Victoria Masterson
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Agriculture, Food and Beverage

Image: X/@FAO

Infographic illustrating the scope of the agrifood analysis.
Food and agriculture have hidden costs related to negative environmental, social and health impacts. Image: The State of Food and Agriculture

Infographic illustrating the milk-related greenhouse gas emissions in Eastern Africa and Northern America.
Greenhouse gas emissions are one of the negative hidden costs of agriculture, as this example of milk production in East Africa and North America shows. Image: The State of Food and Agriculture

Infographic illustrating the total quantified hidden costs of agrifood systems by income group.
Hidden social food costs most affect low-income countries. Image: The State of Food and Agriculture

Graphs illustrating the hidden costs of agrifood systems.
The biggest hidden cost of food is related to health. Image: The State of Food and Agriculture


How is the World Economic Forum helping farmers with technology?

Infographic illustrating the role of true cost accounting in guiding agrifood investments towards sustainability.
More sustainable strategies can help address the hidden costs of food and agriculture. Image: The State of Food and Agriculture

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Related topics:
Agriculture, Food and BeverageSustainable DevelopmentFuture of the Environment
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