Social Capital

s-eco-costs and animal-eco-costs

The issue of Social Capital deals with two aspects of True Cost Accounting (TCA):

  • antisocial labor conditions (minimum acceptable wage, child labor, extreme poverty, excessive working hours, occupational health & safety):
  • animal wellbeing (the unacceptable living conditions for animals in the modern bio-industry):

Antisocial labor conditions: s-eco-costs

The first aspect of labor conditions is dealt with at the webpage s-eco-costs, with some background information on the background of the numerical data. Table 6.3 below gives a summary of these s-eco-costs, as it might be applied in TCA.
An example of a typical calculation of the s-eco-costs of a product is provided at webpage S-LCA.

Animal well-being: animal-eco-costs

The unacceptable living conditions for animals in the modern bio-industry is an important aspect in TCA. In the eco-costs system it is dealt with under the category of animal-eco-costs. Four categories are of food distinguished:

  • milk of cows (animal-eco-costs of milk)
  • bovine: calves and cows (animal-eco-costs of beef)
  • porcine: pigs (animal-eco-costs of pork)
  • poultry: chicken (animal eco-costs of chicken)

The way that the animal-eco-costs of these four categories are determined is similar to the prevention based approach of s-eco-costs: it are the (marginal) costs that are required to fulfill the requirements of the Performance Reference Point, PRP (= the norm for the living conditions that ensure animal well-being).


Note that other ways to quantify the damage of maltreatment of animals hardly exist: neither Willingness to Pay (‘stated preference’, or ‘revealed preference’), nor the ‘budgetary approach’ is  a solution, since “we cannot ask animals what they think”. The PRP, however, is easy to establish: animals show when they are happy. The animal-eco-costs, therefore, can be regarded as a moral obligation of the conventional farmers.

The PRPs are determined by EU regulation on animal well-being (EU 2018/848), plus the basis of regional certification schemes of ‘best practice farms’.