Monsanto, Natura taste the true cost of palm oil and soybeans

19 March 2014

A new analysis by natural capital consulting firm Trucost centered on soybean and palm oil crop production in Brazil underscores the environmental value of agroforestry cultivation. It also offers vivid evidence of why more companies should account for the environmental impact of their business practices.

The exercise compares the environmental impact associated with growing a single crop, known as monocultural production, with agroforestry, where a crop is integrated with indigenous trees or crops, such as bananas or cacao.

In the case of palm oil production, the environmental value of agroforestry was three times higher than monoculture — about $176,044 (R$410,853) per hectare versus $52,384 (R$122,253) per hectare, according to the Trucost analysis. (One hectare is about 2.5 acres.)

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