Future Cannabis Industry Leaders Have to Focus on Sustainability & Social Impact in Order to Succeed
High! Canada Magazine Special Feature!
The global legal marijuana market is predicted to reach $66.3 billion by the end of 2025. Many businesses and brands have emerged with the objective to secure a piece of that colossal green, green pie. As with any new market, there will be those brands that rise above the rest. As sustainable and ethical business practices increasingly fuel consumer spending habits and investors’ decisions, significant competitive advantage is available to businesses that invest in sustainability and social impact efforts.
Although in its infancy, the cannabis industry possesses a unique opportunity to achieve supply chain transparency. It can do this by leveraging existing traceable packaging technology used throughout the industry. In an effort to combat illicit competition from the unlicensed market, most states in the USA that have legalized cannabis have adopted radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging. These tags track the entire process from seed-to-sale.
The process starts by inserting a blue barcode in the soil with a tag containing a microchip with a serial number. As the plant grows, the tag is placed on a branch. Then a sticker is placed on the cannabis product’s packaging before shipment to stores. This seed-to-sale technology ensures controlled and consistent production.
Beyond identifying and tracking cannabis products however, smart tag technology can be used to validate and assure that sustainable measures and responsible practices were leveraged all the way through the process. At the environmental level, such practices can include lowering energy consumption, water use, and implementing effective waste disposal, all of which can be traced through seed-to-sale tracking. Packaging’s accountability in the cannabis market In addition to leveraging traceable packaging technology to keep companies accountable, companies must also focus on the sustainability of their products’ packaging material.
Recent data estimates 10,000 tons of packaging waste was generated by cannabis sales in the first year of legalization in Canada alone. While the industry continues to experience unprecedented growth, today’s record level of cannabis consumption is creating a tremendous amount of packaging waste ending up in landfills. Cannabis companies must focus on developing and implementing sustainable packaging materials. One avenue for sustainable packaging is to incorporate renewable packaging materials. Cellophane, derived from natural resources such as hemp and wood, is increasingly becoming a biodegradable alternative to other materials.
Partnerships are also key in finding the most innovative packaging solutions that help the environment rather than damage it. One company already leading the way is Sana Packaging, a supplier of packaging made from 100% plant-based hemp plastic that just last year launched a line of packaging made from ocean plastics through a partnership with Oceanworks.
As society works toward a greener future, all industries will be held accountable for their environmental footprints. Cannabis businesses have an opportunity to make a difference as the industry evolves. Within this decade, we will see that the dominant business and brand leaders that emerge protect consumers as well as the environment.
High! Canada Magazine is pleased to celebrate SIX of our favorite cannabis Industry leaders who are making headway in the facilitation of a greener planet by focusing on sustainability and social Impact as a part of their existing business models. These include:
N2 Packaging Ltd and their patented Nitrogen canning system as well as their amazing foray into sustainable packaging with N2's latest sustainable packaging solution - the N2 Paper Can.
Onit Sciences and their flagship product, ONIT Grow™ product has to be commended on a product that helps to reduce the overall carbon footprint produced by commercial and craft growing by helping farmers grow healthier, more productive crops through Organic Natural Input Technologies. ONIT Grow™ has been proven to increase cannabis yields by 30% on average while also reducing water and nutrient requirements, improving plant health, and pest resistance and reducing or eliminating mold, mildew and fungus.
The Hempcrete Natural Building Ltd. is the sustainable solution for people seeking housing solutions, and want to reduce their global footprint. Their modular Hempcrete homes are an easy, durable solution. They replace petro-chemicals with natural materials, and fiber reinforced lightweight concrete, for a dynamic and energy efficient sanctuary, free of concerns like pests, water and fire.
Santa Cruz and their Santa Cruz Shredder is our list for an exceptional biodegradable grinder - made with all-natural hemp with a hemp-based binder -you can feel good about throwing it in household garbage if you wanted to do that. The grinder itself is 100% biodegradable and extremely durable!
The Hemp Plastic Company IS invested in resolving one of the world’s biggest problems. There’s no escaping polymers, they’ve infiltrated every aspect of our lives. Yet, we are no longer beholden to petroleum-based materials. There are hemp plastic alternatives that resolve the plastic issue for good. The Hemp Plastic Company has bioplastics that offer a game-changing solution to manufacturers who wish to continue producing the same low cost products without harming our planet. Hemp plastic is the way of the future—The Hemp Plastic Company is encouraging companies to become part of the solution by supporting a newer, greener plastic resin supply alternative.
Collectively, modern society needs to transition to become more eco-friendly. In 2017, 300 million tons of plastic was commissioned by manufacturers worldwide. There is no doubt this is having a serious impact on the health of our planet and changes need to be made to protect future generations. Recent technology has opened the door to a new breed of eco-friendly polymer. No longer reliant on petroleum, these bioplastics are renewable, sustainable and often made using agricultural waste.
Avicanna Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development, manufacturing and commercialization of organic and sustainable plant-derived cannabinoid-based products.
Rated the highest amongst global cannabis companies participating in the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA). The 2020 Sustainability Yearbook that was published on January 30th by S&P Global, showcases the sustainability performance of some of the world's largest companies. As an emerging segment, there were only a handful of companies assessed from the cannabis sector, however, Avicanna obtained the highest score out of all cannabis companies evaluated. With this achievement, Avicanna is proving its commitment to corporate governance, sustainable and responsible practices in the cannabinoid space.
"This year's score will serve as a baseline for Avicanna as we intend to fulfill their corporate vision of being a responsible and sustainable global company. In addition, we believe our score further validates our leadership position on that vision in the industry," stated Aras Azadian, Avicanna's Chief Executive Officer.
The SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), established by RobecoSAM, is now issued by S&P Global. RobecoSAM, an asset manager focused entirely on sustainable investing, established the CSA in 1999. The CSA has become the basis for numerous S&P ESG Indices over the last two decades attracting billions of dollars in assets. This sustainability index family is among the most prestigious benchmarks for investors who recognize sustainability as the key engine of business models to generate long-term shareholder value and have a positive impact on their investments.