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September 8, 2023

Local Cannabis Industry Moves Towards Net Zero Carbon Emissions


New report highlights 70% carbon emissions reduction by a local cultivator through Boulder County certification program


Boulder County, CO — A recently published report from the Boulder County Carbon Conscious Certification program shows significant progress towards reducing carbon pollution and increasing energy efficiency among program-certified cannabis cultivators.

The certification program, a joint initiative by The Cannabis Conservancy and Boulder County's Energy Impact Offset Fund Committee, was established to address the need for greater responsibility and accountability in the cannabis cultivation market while aiming for carbon neutrality. Since its launch in 2020, 29% of cannabis cultivators in unincorporated Boulder County have completed the certification program to move away from fossil fuels.

The report findings show that all participants improved their total energy efficiency and reduced the amount of energy used to produce a gram of dried cannabis flower. Participants adopted new technologies and practices, such as LED lights, more efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, and using electricity sourced from local renewable energy providers, including Jack's Solar Garden in Longmont, the nation's largest commercially active agrivoltaics research site.

In The Flow, a boutique cannabis company, stands out with a 70% reduction in carbon emissions and a 25% increase in energy productivity.

“It's important to our company that we do everything we can to address the issue of energy-intensive cannabis cultivation,” said In the Flow Owner Bonnie Bahlmann.

Karing Kind, The Republic, and Vera Cultivation also reported strides towards carbon neutrality, achieving an average 7% reduction in carbon emissions and an average 13.5% increase in energy productivity.

“It's important to think about our footprint as a business to help us do better as an industry leader,” said Karing Kind Owner Dylan Donaldson.

“The certification validates all of the efforts we've undertaken from the efficient design of the facility to how we operate day-to-day,” said Vera Cultivation CEO Alex Park. “We live in an era of rapid natural resource depletion and scarcity… and this commitment is meant to create a sustainable product and address some of these challenges.”

"We're excited to see the progress these cannabis cultivators have made in reducing energy consumption and carbon pollution," said Boulder County program coordinator Ambra Sutherlin. "They're leaders in the cannabis community, dedicated to going carbon neutral and making a real difference in the fight against climate change."

Starting in 2023, the Carbon Conscious Certification standards will expand to include additional Scope 3 carbon emissions such as input procurement, packaging, and end-of-life practices.

For access to the complete report and more information about the certification program, please visit Boulder County’s website.

Boulder County Carbon Conscious Progress Report

About The Cannabis Conservancy:

The mission of the Cannabis Conservancy is to empower and assure that the regulated cannabis industry achieves environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The Cannabis Conservancy provides Sustainability Certification to legal cannabis organizations that adhere to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), are free of harmful chemical inputs, utilize waste reduction methods, are energy efficient, and conserve water. For more information, visit: https://cannabisconservancy.com/ or email info@cannabisconservancy.com

About Boulder County’s Energy Impact Offset Fund:

Boulder County requires commercial cannabis cultivators to either offset their electricity use with local renewable energy, which now includes RenewableConnect, or pay a 2.16 cent charge per kilowatt hour. The fees from this surcharge are then placed into the Boulder County Energy Impact Offset Fund. This fund in turn, can be used to educate and support best in industry practices with regards to energy usage as well as for funding other carbon pollution reducing projects such as low income renewable energy.

About Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience:

Boulder County residents are experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis in the form of high heat days, extreme weather, drought, poor air quality, and devastating wildfires. As a global leader in climate action, Boulder County is committed to the radical transformation needed to meet this challenge. Through programs and policies that foster innovation, coalition-building, and equitable outcomes, Boulder County is cutting emissions, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and supporting systemic change to fight the climate crisis.

In 2018, Boulder County, San Miguel County, and the City of Boulder filed a lawsuit against two oil companies that bear significant responsibility for climate change. The communities are demanding that Suncor and ExxonMobil pay their fair share of the costs associated with climate change impacts on local governments so that the costs do not fall disproportionately on taxpayers.


Mission of the Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience

Our mission is to advance policies and programs that conserve resources, protect the environment, and safeguard our climate in order to build a sustainable, just, and resilient community.

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