Many people have long associated cannabis and hemp with hippies (sometimes called “tree-huggers”), which has earned the industry a “green” or sustainable reputation. Unfortunately, this image has never been the reality. And with the rapid commercialization of cannabis, it hasn’t gotten any better. Conventional pest control methods, chemical fertilizers, and energy-intensive indoor growing spaces have become the norm. And they aren’t doing the environment any favors.
While sustainability in your cannabis business might present some challenges, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to reduce your carbon footprint.
Benefits of Becoming More Sustainable
Making an effort to implement more sustainable practices could prove beneficial for your cannabis or CBD business. It can reduce your carbon footprint and help you save money. And, believe it or not, it can help your business thrive and grow.
Today’s consumers are increasingly more aware of their impact on the environment. In their efforts to reduce it, they’re looking for companies who share their values. Implementing greener practices could help you earn their business and loyalty. A 2021 survey from GreenPrint found that consumers were even willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products.
Common Issues in Cannabis Sustainability
More states legalizing cannabis during the wait for federal legalization is a good thing, but it hasn’t helped sustainability. Here are some of the most common issues cannabis businesses face:
Energy and Water Consumption
Growing cannabis outdoors might require a lot of land, but it doesn’t use nearly as much energy as a greenhouse. Some states don’t allow for outdoor growing, forcing growers to use indoor spaces. Those spaces require electricity for light, temperature control, and more.
Whether grown indoors or out, cannabis also needs a lot of water. Some growing practices can strip the soil of nutrients, reducing natural water retention and increasing the crops’ water intake.
Fertilizers and Pesticides
Chemicals in conventional fertilizers may be convenient, but they do more harm than good. Fertilizers can kill beneficial microorganisms and deter long-term sustainability efforts. Pesticide chemicals can seep into the ground and contaminate the water supply.
Plastics and Packaging
Every state has strict guidelines for cannabis packaging, such as child-proofing, durability requirements, and labeling. There’s heavy reliance on plastic materials, which, because they once touched cannabis, consumers can’t recycle.
Cannabis Business Sustainability Tips
Fortunately, there are things cannabis businesses can do to increase their sustainability:
Seek Out Renewable Energy Sources
If growing outdoors isn’t an option, look for ways to cut your energy use. LED lighting, for example, uses less energy and produces less heat, which means less water loss. Switching to solar or wind power can have a significant impact, too.
Implement Sustainable Cannabis Cultivation Practices
Use natural pesticides and fertilizers instead of conventional chemical ones. If possible, collect rainwater to water your plants.
While you still need to adhere to packaging and labeling requirements, you can de-emphasize plastics by:
- Opting for green alternatives such as bioplastics, glass, or cardboard
- Investing in a recycling initiative
- Partnering with suppliers on the same mission
Reduce Your Cannabis Business’s Environmental Impact
Sustainability might be a problem in the cannabis business now, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Taking active steps to improve your practices and reduce your carbon footprint can go a long way. Along with helping the environment, you could also win over more customers who share your vision.
At Bespoke Financial, we can help you achieve your sustainability goals. We offer a variety of financing solutions to businesses in several areas of the industry. Visit us today to learn more.