DSM carries out pilot studies to assess its impact upon natural and social capital,
assigning an economic value to the environmental and social impacts across the value
chain for specifi c product and market applications.
In this pilot, DSM teamed up with True Price to quantify the environmental costs and benefi ts associated with OatWell®, including the effect on the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. OatWell® is an active ingredient derived from oatmeal that helps lower cholesterol levels and control blood glucose. A complimentary social capital study linked with DSM’s People+ program was also carried out.
Results show that the positive environmental and social effects are substantially higher than the environmental costs associated with OatWell®’s value chain. Producing OatWell® incurs environmental costs, mainly in water, energy and land use. A part of that cost is compensated because OatWell® replaces wheat that no longer has to be produced. Further significant environmental benefits are expected as a result of reduced food production, since research suggests that people eat considerably less when OatWell® is part of a healthy diet. The final effect is the expected social and economic benefit of reduced cardiovascular diseases, a specific health benefit of OatWell®.
Additional positive economic values were calculated in the People+ areas of Better Health (reduction in other diseases); Working Conditions (safety and health, as well as remuneration); and Community Development (local employment, local sourcing, and education).
This comprehensible presentation of combined environmental and social impacts allow comparison with economic costs, and encourages thinking about business models that capture societal value.