The Truth About Sustainability

There’s quite a bit of confusion about what sustainability means for a cannabis business. Too often, businesses still view sustainability as something extra they need to do to satisfy the public, governments, investors, and their employees.

The truth is sustainability is another tool for ongoing improvement of the business to build resilience, reduce costs to drive profitability, and strengthen the company’s reputation with its customer and its role in the local economy. Healthy cannabis businesses create a healthier cannabis industry.

Businesses, through their activities and relationships, impact people positively or negatively as a result of its impacts to the economy, the environment, and its employees, customers, and community. Understanding these impacts and acting to create more positive impacts while reducing negative ones is intention of a well-thought out sustainability plan.

For example, sustainability reporting in accordance with the widely accepted Global Reporting Initiative framework is designed so any business can understand its impacts to the economy, the environment, and people, including impacts on their human rights (you can find the GRI standards here.)

Sustainability goes beyond reducing environmental impacts, which is where most companies limit their attention. Rather than being at the effect of external factors, sustainability directs attention and actions internally which increasingly is being shown to lead to greater customer satisfaction, efficiency of operations, employee enthusiasm, community support.

This month’s newsletter highlights several widespread pain points for cannabis businesses including, inventory management (impacts to a business’ profitability and potentially reputation), putting people in the right positions to succeed and reduce employee turnover (impacts to people), and training to development employee skills and operational efficiency and resilience (impacts to people and cost reduction). The first step to develop a tailored sustainability plan for any business is to identify and assess its potential impacts to the economy, environment, and people, so it can then prioritize and plan actions to reduce the negative impacts that result in costs to the business and improve the positive impacts that create value for the business.

Jack Palis
Sr. IMPACT Manager

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