The environmental costs, also called “hidden” costs, are the environmental costs associated with a product’s manufacture, use and disposal. These costs plus the sticker price are a product's “full” or “true” costs. Seeing these hidden costs allows consumers to know which product really is more sustainable. Today, it’s society that pays the environmental costs, and not the company causing the pollution, but this is about to change! The principle of “the polluter pays” is gaining more and more ground in political circles.
It’s becoming easier all the time to see these true costs, thanks to the work of companies like “TruCost”, and manufacturers who want to publicize their green business practices by communicating their lower hidden costs. Once these costs have been factored in to the product’s price, they can offer their products with higher margins than the competition.
Some retail chains and companies are already making their hidden costs public, or have started work on it. One fine example is the Dutch organic supermarket chain Ekoplaza, which this year started publishing the “true price” of their products, thus including the environmental costs. This is just the beginning of a significant worldwide trend.
The EcoChain environmental management software is already set up to calculate the hidden costs. Your company can be ready to face the future now.