As cannabis legalization continues to spread across the globe the climate crisis is becoming more felt and visible.
As an agricultural product that currently relies on heavy water use for outdoor cultivation and large amounts of electricity for indoor, produces a large amount of packaging waste, and requires fleets of new distribution vehicles on the road, cannabis is already proving to heavily impact the environment.
Running a successful business in such a heavily regulated sector is already difficult, running a sustainable eco-conscience company is even more difficult. However, many cannabis businesses are finding ways to implement their own sustainable practices hoping that the industry will follow.
Regenerative farming and living soil based cultivators often achieve a carbon footprint of zero. Regenerative farms prioritize environmental health first and growing a commercial cannabis crop second. One step above organic farming, the crop is grown in the sun, farmers source local water, use natural nutrients, and compost all in a closed loop system.
The system allows nutrients coming from the native environment to be used to remediate the soil, purify water and actively regenerate the environment rather than depleting it. Consumers can easily identify sustainable brands through third party organizations such as Sun and Earth Certified, which assures a company’s regenerative practices. @sunandearthcert
2- Environmental Driven Technology
When cultivating indoor, building energy efficient facilities utilizing sustainable technologies such as LED lighting, solar power and water reclamation systems help reduce the environmental impacts. Some states offer energy-efficiency rebates to reward reduced energy consumption.
The following shows a comparison of common consumer products and their industry’s current average carbon foot:
Marijuana: 1 gram (indoor) = 10 pounds of co2 emissions
Beer: 6-pack = 7 pounds of co2 emissions
Beef: 1 pound = 50.5 pounds of co2 emissions
3- Mandated Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable companies take responsibility for a product’s impact from the sourcing of the materials to its ultimate disposal. They take into account the shipping of a product from the producer, through the retailer, and onto the consumer—a process which often involves significant quantities of wasteful and expensive packaging materials.
New mandates would increase the use of innovative packaging solutions including: up-cycled corrugated bubble wrap, biodegradable packing peanuts, air pillows made of recycled materials, and hemp sourced bioplastics, among many others.
4- Low Emission Transportation Methods.
Cannabis distribution fleets need to use alternative fuels, such as biodiesel, electricity, and natural gas to help reduce carbon emissions.
5- Advocacy, advocacy, advocacy
The industry can take this as an opportunity to help the climate crisis and advocate for greener guidelines throughout all industries. State and local energy rebates benefit companies by improving profits while satisfying consumers demands for sustainable products.
Sustainable minded consumers can choose brands that are green certified or choose to grow their own cannabis, limiting much of the challenges within the supply chains.