LEIDEN – Five hundred and eighty euros. That is the price you would have to charge on top of your current ticketprice from Amsterdam to Bangkok. It represents the costs for the climate damage and air pollution that your return trip to a holiday country causes. The current price you pay for an airline ticket does not include the costs for the negative effects of your flight. While those costs still exist, they are currently passed on to society at large or future generations. For example, think of the healthcare costs for people who develop lung problems as a consequence of air pollution. In other words, in order to know the true price of a plane ticket, you need to add the negative effects to society not currently included.
Better choices due to the true price
Founder of Better Places, Saskia Griep explains:
We see that the effects of climate change are becoming more and more extreme, and the time to prevent even worse consequences is running out. CO2 compensation was a nice idea, but it doesn't work. We have to fly less.
Travelers can now see the true price of transport to their holiday destination on the Better Places website. “We hope that travellers will make different choices when they see the effects of their air travel on the environment and society. For example, by going to Spain by train, because the true price of a train ticket is much lower than the true price of a plane ticket.”
Part of a wider movement
Access to information educating consumers about the true price of products has grown significantly in recent years. There are already supermarkets that show true prices for products on their shelves. In addition to food, there are also examples in clothing, such as the true price of a pair of jeans. The True Price organisation has been investigating the hidden costs of products and services for years. Michel Scholte, co-founder of True Price, says: “Awareness about the true price of our consumption has definitely broken through; now the question is what we are going to do with it. When you travel, try to travel shorter distances and take the train where possible.”
Hidden costs of flying
Better Places has used the True Price methodology to calculate the true price of flights. The calculations were performed utilizing True Price Framework and the costs were then calculated based on the True Price monetization factors. Saskia: “We first had to determine which hidden costs we wanted to identify. From the long list, we have chosen the two most important for now: contribution to climate change and air pollution.” As far as Saskia is concerned, this is just the beginning. “There are costs that we cannot calculate at the moment, but that are important. Think of the health damage caused by noise pollution or the loss of biodiversity. Including those costs in the true price is the next step.”
Flying only for the elite
Saskia often hears the concern that more expensive airline tickets are only affordable for the very rich. “Flying has always been for the elite. Even with current cheap airline tickets, eighty percent of the world's population has never flown. In the Netherlands, eight percent of people are responsible for forty percent of the flights. At the same time, it is the poorest people who will feel the worst effects of global warming. It's only fair if frequent flyers pay the true price. Or better yet: fly less.” As far as Saskia is concerned, the price can be raised considerably: “Then train tickets will automatically become more attractive. The extra money can be used for innovation and to compensate for the damage caused by flying.”
Not more expensive, but more sustainable
For now, the travel organisation mainly uses the true price for awareness. “The purpose of the true price is not to make everything more expensive, but to make products and services less harmful. For that you first need to know what the hidden costs are. The less damage done in production and implementation, the lower the true price. Calculating the true price of your plane ticket is the first step towards a fairer system, with the ultimate goal of a liveable planet for everyone.”
About Better Places
Better Places is a travel agency and offers high-quality trips that account for nature and the local population. Together with a travel expert who has been living at the given destination for years, you can put together your journey,exactly as desired. Better Places is the first travel organisation in the Netherlands with an international B Corp certification and was included in the register of the Social Enterprises Code in December 2021.
More information about the true price of our trips: de echte prijs van vliegen.
About True Price
True Price is a social enterprise with a mission to calculate and improve the true price of products and services. The true price is the market price plus the social and environmental costs. When we use the true price, products can be realized within the limits of the planet and with respect for human rights. A growing movement of companies, organisations and consumers is embracing true prices as a tool to solve the climate, biodiversity and poverty crises.
For more information look at this page: True Price.