One international cannabis company says it can produce a kilogram of cannabis and release hundreds of times less carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere than indoor cannabis, and that it has achieved carbon neutrality.
Clever Leaves Holdings Inc. announced on Aug. 29 that it was awarded the International Declaration of Carbon Neutrality by 100% Carbon Neutral Program. Sustainable cannabis production has a significant impact on the environment: Clever Leaves generates just 16 kilograms of CO2 compared to indoor growing practices that generate up to 2,300 to 5,200 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of dried flower.
This was achieved through its active commitment to environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation. Clever Leaves representatives say that it is the first known vertically integrated medicinal cannabis company worldwide to have achieved international certification for carbon-neutrality.
“At our core, we work for being a sustainable company,” Clever Leaves CEO Andrés Fajardo said. “We are among the first large vertically integrated medicinal cannabis companies operating in the newly legal industry, and it is incumbent on us to build an industry that is sustainable and environmentally sound from the start. We feel that there is no better time than now to double-down on our commitment to sustainability and are dedicated to mitigating climate change wherever possible. We are proud to know that our flower and extracts being sold globally are grown and manufactured in a carbon-neutral environment. Furthermore, we believe this will also prove to be important to our clients, physicians, and patients.”
Fajardo co-founded Clever Leaves in Colombia, leading the development of its first 18 Hectares of GACP- and EU-GMP-certified cultivation and post-harvest facilities, and a GMP-certified extraction and formulation plant. He gained experience at Harvard Business School and Los Andes University in Colombia.
Clever Leaves will adopt passive techniques to harness solar energy and improve waste management practices. This also includes partnerships with local recycling associations, reforestation projects, and integrated rainwater. Using these sustainable practices, the company repurposes or recycles more than 50% of its waste.
Reducing Carbon Footprint in Cannabis Industry
To produce one kilogram of dried flower, Clever Leaves generates just 16 kilograms of CO2, compared to traditional “indoor” cultivation methods that generate up to 2,300 to 5,200 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of dried flower. The Company’s energy consumption per kilogram of dried flower is 62 kilowatt-hours, in stark contrast to “indoor” usage of up to 5,000 kilowatt-hours
Clever Leaves has operations and investments in the United States, Canada, Colombia, and Germany, and recently pulled out of Portugal.
By deploying sustainable practices, Clever Leaves’ carbon footprint stood at 318 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) across all production operations in 2022. Furthermore, Clever Leaves has offset its remaining emissions by acquiring international carbon credits from carbonfund.org and supporting emission reduction projects.
The process will adhere to the GHG Protocol standard and has been evaluated and verified byLa Tercera Mirada and the International 100% Carbon Neutral Program.
“The fight against climate change requires the commitment of everyone, but mainly from companies that are leaders in their industries. That is why working together with Clever Leaves and turning them into the first Latin American company with the 100% Carbon Neutral® Company certification, has been a truly gratifying experience and one that solidifies the Latin American fight against climate change.” said Javier Segura, COO for LATAM of the 100% Carbon Neutral Program®.
What is Carbon Neutral and Why Do We Need It?
Achieving carbon neutrality is paramount to avoiding some of the worst consequences of climate change. It benefits society as a whole because it leads to less environmental pollution and improvements to physical health. It also boosts sustainable economic growth and creates more green jobs.
Companies around the globe were challenged by the UN to reach carbon neutrality in 2015.
At the UN Climate Change Conference in late 2015 an agreement was reached—The Paris Agreement—to move towards carbon neutrality by the second half of the 21st Century to mitigate the effects of climate change.
CO2 emissions are among the leading causes of climate change. Dating back to the Industrial Revolution, people around the world are increasing the use of the carbon trapped inside fossil fuels, or coal, oil and natural gas. When they are burnt, it releases CO2.
In May 2019 the concentration of C02 in the atmosphere reached record levels at 415 ppm (parts per million). CO2 and other greenhouse gases get trapped in solar radiation, warming the surface of the earth.
Many experts believe that global warming could become catastrophic, causing severe droughts, extreme storms, and heatwaves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, loss of biodiversity and major upheavals in human life.