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What is the "true price" of our purchases?

From our wardrobes to our plates

What is the true price of our purchases?  From our wardrobes to our plates

In a world where environmental and social consciousness is constantly evolving, a new trend is emerging in the realm of consumption: "True Pricing", or "True Cost". This approach aims to reveal the hidden social and environmental costs behind our daily purchases, thus offering consumers a new perspective on the real impact of their consumption choices. The idea is rather simple: to integrate social and environmental costs into the selling price of products. Thus, the price of an item would reflect not only its production and distribution costs but also its impacts on society and the planet. The economic and social stakes associated with True Pricing are considerable. Currently, many costs related to the production and distribution of products are externalized, meaning they are not factored into the selling prices. This externalization creates distortions in the economy and leads to many harmful consequences. As the movement gains popularity, initiatives are emerging worldwide - companies and organizations are beginning to integrate it into their business practices. These efforts are supported by partnerships with NGOs and governments, aiming to promote cost transparency and encourage more sustainable consumption choices.

What is the true price of our purchases?  From our wardrobes to our plates | Image 497971

In the fashion world, flashy labels often conceal a darker reality: the hidden costs of garment production. A recent study conducted by the Impact Institute and the Dutch bank ABN Amro revealed that the displayed price of a simple pair of jeans represents only a fraction of the actual costs, estimated at nearly 33 euros on average, encompassing significant environmental and social impacts. These costs mainly include excessive water consumption, pollution resulting from production, and underpayment of workers in developing countries. Faced with this reality, brands such as Patagonia have adopted the method by meticulously calculating the true costs of their clothing, from fiber to fabric to manufacturing, and integrating every aspect of their supply chain into their calculations. This increased transparency allows these brands to raise consumer awareness about the challenges and successes of their commitment to sustainability and fairness. Meanwhile, a glimmer of hope emerges from the True Price study, revealing that 95% of consumers would be willing to pay the true price if it were established as the default price. This trend underscores a fundamental shift in consumer mindsets, which seem increasingly willing to invest in ethical and sustainable products.

What is the true price of our purchases?  From our wardrobes to our plates | Image 497972

In supermarket aisles, the trend is also gaining momentum. Not in France but in selected stores of Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, customers are now offered an unusual choice: pay the standard price or opt for the "true price", slightly higher. This initiative is supported by in-store posters and QR codes, allowing consumers to learn more about the implications of their choices. The benefits for consumers are clear: a better understanding of the true costs of products, the opportunity to support sustainable practices, and sometimes, the gratifying feeling of contributing to charitable or environmental causes. According to a study conducted by research firm Nielsen, 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for products from brands committed to sustainable practices. However, for retailers and brands, True Pricing also represents a significant challenge, particularly in terms of communication, price management, and adaptation to new transparency requirements in the supply chain. According to Mike Barry, former Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, «Retailers may fear a negative public reaction to price increases, especially in times of economic crisis. However, True Pricing can become a strategic management tool, allowing companies to better understand their true costs and implement more sustainable practices in the long term.» It becomes clear that this approach has the potential to fundamentally transform our consumption patterns while contributing to a fairer and more balanced future for all.