Most consumers want to make buying decisions that have a positive impact on their community and the planet. Likewise, many businesses want to showcase how their sourcing and employment principles have this same positive impact.
But what do you really know about the price you’re paying?
Information about “where the money goes” is rarely available at the point of purchase. Due to the complexity of modern supply networks and ownership structures, it can be difficult to define your dollar’s impact along the input chain.
To address this gap, Shorefast developed the concept of Economic Nutrition:
a financial transparency tool that adds depth beyond price alone so consumers can make informed purchase decisions.
Economic Nutrition is modeled after food labels, which help consumers understand ingredients and nutrition so they can make healthy choices. In the same way, Economic Nutrition labels show the financial information behind any product or service, empowering consumers to understand how it sustains the economic health of communities.
The label shows what your money pays for the percent of every dollar that goes to expenses like labour, materials or marketing. It also shows where your money goes the geographic distribution of every dollar, local or abroad.
The opening information includes the business name, type of business structure, and unit of measure, giving a frame of reference for what information is being shared (product, service, or whole business unit).
Information is then broken into two parts:
What does the money pay for?
This section breaks down the percentage of the purchase price as it is reinvested in input costs. Expense categories (such as labour, admin, etc.) are intended to be generic enough to relate to a broad group of readers, while comprehensive enough in scope that they can be used across industries, products, and services.
Where does the money go?
This section identifies where the money used to source inputs lands geographically across four categories: local, regional, national, and international. “Local” represents a municipal area (city, town, or community). The next largest unit of measure, in Canada, is “Provincial.”
Economic Nutrition is a Certification Mark used under license from Shorefast, and is currently being piloted for more widespread use. Businesses agree to follow a series of guidelines to ensure consistency in the display of values and accuracy of input calculations for information presented.
Economic Nutrition is an initiative of Shorefast and part of the organization’s Community Economies program. The idea emerged on Fogo Island as a transparency tool for Shorefast’s community enterprises, and is currently being piloted for more widespread use.