Costing the Earth: How to Fix Finance to Save the Planet — Book Release
Time is running out in the race to slash carbon emissions and repair biodiversity, with the goal of reaching net-zero by 2050 remaining as elusive as ever.
In Costing the Earth, Astanor co-founder and partner Eric Archambeau argues that rather than making media-friendly pledges and grasping low-hanging fruit (such as aviation taxes), world leaders must radically overhaul finance instead.
Only by aligning investment decisions with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and ensuring that industrial and services companies measure and incorporate in their P&L statements the full environmental and social costs of their operations — costs that are currently passed on to taxpayers or absorbed by Nature — will we stand a chance of achieving the breakthroughs we need.
Zeroing in on the agri-food sector, one of the largest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and biodiversity loss, Eric dissects the many hidden problems caused by our current financial system.
As the stakes continue to rise and the window for action narrows, Costing the Earth makes the case that the only viable and sustainable way to achieve net-zero is to adopt the model pioneered by impact investors, which takes the three Ps — profit, people and the planet — into account when valuing a company or tracking its performance. Only then will business leaders all over the world be incentivized to place sustainability and the regeneration of the planet’s resources at the heart of their operations and decision-making.
“This intriguing book of Eric is thought-provoking, inspiring and gives some very compelling reasons for why we need to reform how we account for the environmental and social costs and benefits of products and services. The food and agriculture sector is a key area to address and the solutions described in the book show that there is a path between the unsustainable status-quo and the unrealistic return to pre-industrial agrifood production practices. In other words: a path to adjust our agrifood sector via innovations and changes to a sustainable business.”
Feike Sijbesma, former CEO Royal DSM, co-chair Global Climate Centers.
“Eric Archambeau has created a well-written and insightful book based upon his personal experiences as a venture capitalist in the agri-food sector. The book sets out practical steps towards realising his vision, including suggestions for how to better account for environmental and social costs on corporate balance sheets. Highly recommended to all those interested in social entrepreneurship and impact investing.”
Sandra Robertson, Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer of Oxford University Endowment Management
“Eric examines the impacts of the current financial system by zeroing in on the agri-food sector, one of the largest contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and biodiversity loss. As the window for action narrows, Eric makes the case that the agri-food sector cannot wait for the adoption of global sustainability standards to account for the true, today obscured, environmental and social costs of agriculture and food. He compellingly argues that the impact investing model, supported by a robust set of comparable and reliable metrics, is a critical way to achieve net-zero for our food system. This framework is a necessary condition for business leaders to place sustainability and the regeneration of the planet’s resources at the heart of their operations and decision-making at scale. I could not agree more and it is urgent”.
Emmanuel Faber, Chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), Partner at Astanor Ventures and ex-Chairman and CEO of Danone Group