Dude, Your Cannabis Habit Has an Epic Carbon Footprint

Canadian report underscores the energy-intensiveness of indoor pot farming.

An indoor grow in Oregon.Getty Images

This story was originally published by Canada’s National Observer, and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Cannabis giant Canopy Growth used a lot of energy to grow its pot in 2020. Emissions from the company were equivalent to burning more than 65 million pounds of coal, newly released data shows.

The data was published last week by Canopy Growth as part of its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting, marking the first time emissions data has been reported by the company.

Canopy Growth’s environmental reporting follows similar releases by other pot companies last year. In June, Vancouver-based Rubicon Organics published its first-ever ESG report, and in August, Toronto-headquartered Khiron Life Sciences Corp. published its inaugural ESG report.

“As we work towards creating sustainable long-term profitability, we’re cognizant of the link between business models that create shared value for a wider stakeholder group being more likely to succeed over time, versus those that operate in the singular pursuit of profit,” said Canopy’s chief advocacy officer Hilary Black, explaining why the company is publishing ESG information.

CEO of ESGTree Majid Mirza told Canada’s National Observer that investors, whether they be large asset managers or individuals, are increasingly allocating capital based on a company’s ESG ratings. The better the rating, the easier it is to attract investors.

Mirza said Europe’s experience introducing a sustainable finance disclosure regulation has shown that companies with pre-existing disclosures often perform well. The regulation is designed to try to steer money into sustainable projects by integrating climate concerns into the financial system. “The valuations of those companies that have good ratings for ESG disclosure naturally go up because investors are assuming that due to the new regulations, there will be some sort of reward system in place,” he said.

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