New Year Resolutions for the Cannabis Industry

Each new year comes with the traditional wishes to lose weight, reduce stress, make more money, and have an impact. For cannabis business operators, it is about currently dealing with many issues including high taxes, a strong illegal market, and how to help with social and environmental challenges.  Earlier this year, Cannabis Business Times ran a headline and call to action “ESG in Cannabis: Not If, But When”.  “Embedding environmental, social, and governance tenets into the core business is a must for cannabis companies.”

ESG are principles that allow businesses to “Walk the Talk”.  Easy to implement, helps differentiate your company and brand plus sustainably marketed products’ sales have increased 2.7 times faster than conventional ones.  At a time when cannabis and hemp businesses need to build greater trust, there is still resistance. Why?

The industry over the last few years has been dealing with licensing issues, a pandemic, a growing illegal market, capital restraints, supply chain issues, inflation, and restrictive marketing regulations to name a few.  The industry’s heart is in the right place but needs a platform to better communicate its story.

1. Reduce carbon footprint

One resolution could be to reduce the carbon footprint of these operations by implementing energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy sources.

2. Support diversity and inclusion

The cannabis industry has historically been dominated by white men, and it’s important to work toward greater diversity and inclusion in the industry. This could include hiring practices, vendor selection, and partnerships with organizations that support diversity and inclusion.

3. Implement sustainability practices

Sustainability is an important aspect of ESG and the cannabis industry. This could include reducing water use in cultivation, implementing composting and recycling programs, and supporting regenerative agriculture practices.

4. Promote safe and responsible use

As the cannabis industry becomes more mainstream, it’s important to promote the safe and responsible use of cannabis products. This could include providing education and resources for consumers, supporting research on the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use, and collaborating with regulators to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.

5. Engage with stakeholders

ESG is not just about what a company does, but also how it communicates and engages with its stakeholders. This includes shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which the company operates. Cannabis companies can resolve to be more transparent and open to input from these stakeholders in order to build trust and improve their reputation.

Respected ESG colleague Marc Ross, head of impact and ESG at cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg, “Investors are looking for ESG metrics around water, carbon emissions, and energy and water usage,” says Ross. “Companies reporting these figures are leaner, more efficient, and engage stakeholders better. They also have a millennial workforce and customer base that feels strongly about buying products bounded in environmental and social issues.”

“Gen Z and millennials said, 32% choose retailers that carry sustainable products and 20% choose retailers devoted to sustainability.”

The world of sustainability can put your business at the forefront of a generational shift.  Retailers have a golden opportunity to create a new category of shelf space that allows the consumer to “Shop their Values”.  Gen Z and millennials said, 32% choose retailers that carry sustainable products and 20% choose retailers devoted to sustainability. The waves of change are building.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Resolutions fail when you don’t take baby steps was designed from my perspective of running three different cannabis retailers, co-founding a cannabis waste management company, and three years seeing all different business plans at Tress Capital. Simply, our GCAC team created an app that uses the blockchain to help a business record ESG claims in a way that creates greater trust and transparency for the company and the brand. 

We created a list of 50 cannabis-centric ESG/sustainability goals that a business can use to record their impact on social equity, reduced water consumption, organic, recycling, employee fair wages, women-owned businesses, and more. These are the various issues that do not show up on the brand packaging but now can through a simple QR code. The beauty of the QR code is that it can store a video about your “inner business values”, share images of your supply chain, and most importantly show your certifications and accomplishments. 

The first baby step is to visit and signup. You can quickly upload your sustainability accomplishments and be ready to start sharing with your community.  Best yet, the cost starts at $50/mth for up to 3 merit badges.  Now you have delivered on a key resolution for your business in the new year and one that creates trust through greater transparency.

Contact us to start your brand’s ESG journey >>

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