Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Understanding Sustainable Practices In The CBD Industry

Last updated on February 15th, 2024 at 07:11 pm

The global CBD industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, driven by a string of legalizations, and the growing acceptance of the products for their health and wellness benefits. While the sheer scale of growth is something to marvel at, many observers are increasingly concerned about this burgeoning industry’s growing externalities, particularly its impact on an increasingly fragile global environment. Fortunately, leading organized players in the sustainable CBD industry are going all-out to ensure CBD sustainability by minimizing environmental impacts, ensuring ethical and responsible sourcing, extensive quality controls, and waste reduction policies, among other things.

In this article, we provide a low down on various measures being taken to advance the cause of sustainability in the multi-billion dollar CBD industry.

Responsible Sourcing & Agricultural Practices

Sustainability in the CBD industry begins at the farm and thus requires extensive frameworks and systems to ensure reliable sourcing while promoting responsible agricultural practices. 

Modern agricultural practices, by their very nature, aren’t sustainable, and hemp cultivation is no exception. It requires extensive use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and preservatives to make the entire supply chain capable of turning a profit.

With that said, leading players in this space, such as Hometown Hero are pushing for change, instituting practices such as crop rotation, and the use of natural fertilizers, among other things. They are working towards this by instituting transparent supply chains, all the way from farms to store shelves.

Energy Efficiency In CBD Production

Extracting CBD is an energy-intensive process, requiring a wide range of steps such as decarboxylation, distillation, and winterization. 

It goes without saying that each of these processes leaves a large carbon footprint on the end product, making it crucial to adopt sustainable, energy-efficient processes that can help businesses in this space stake a worthy claim of environmental stewardship.

While the initial approach in this regard is to buy carbon offsets to make up for their emissions, in the long run, capital equipment manufacturers for this space will start working towards better, energy-efficient, and environmentally sustainable options, helping unlock substantial value in the process.

Waste Reduction & Recycling

CBD extraction generates waste materials, including plant matter and other byproducts, which have plenty of secondary use cases across packaging, composting, and other profitable runoff products

On a macro level, the most sustainable approach to CBD sustainability is the pursuit of a circular economy, where all the resources expended on the production of goods and services come full circle, in order to be used once again.

While achieving something like this at scale is next to impossible for most businesses, the CBD industry is one that is actually best positioned for it. 

From repurposing hemp waste into biofuels, biodegradable plastics, and construction materials, to the use of responsible recyclable packaging, there are plenty of opportunities for leading brands to show that they care and want to make a difference.

Biodiversity Conservation & Regenerative Farming

As the CBD industry relies on hemp cultivation, it has a unique opportunity to support biodiversity conservation and promote regenerative farming practices. Monoculture farming, where only one crop is cultivated over vast areas, can lead to soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, and increased vulnerability to pests and diseases.

On the other hand, regenerative farming techniques aim to restore and improve soil health, enhance biodiversity, and sequester carbon. 

By adopting regenerative practices, sustainable CBD producers can contribute positively to the environment, enhancing their crops’ resilience and reducing the need for synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

Final Thought

As the CBD industry grows, it is increasingly under the spotlight for its business practices and environmental impact. Activists and experts have thus far taken a more relaxed approach to this segment, considering that it was still at its infancy, and relatively smaller compared to other consumer discretionary sectors. 

This honeymoon phase is unlikely to last for long, especially as CBD companies post record-breaking revenues and profits. 

They will now be expected to pick up the slack for their externalities, and as such, established players should consider leading the way with better utilization of resources, sustainable sourcing, better packaging and more, in order to best serve the planet, in addition to their consumers.


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