Driving Excellence With NACB’s Sustainability Standard

Driving Excellence With NACB’s Sustainability Standard

Our world is straining under the pressures that have resulted from unsustainable practices. We must build systems in the emerging cannabis industry that promote environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

In collaboration with industry experts, the NACB used our common-sense approach to create a Sustainability Standard which provides guidance and a framework for three key areas — corporate governance, social and human impact, and the environment.

Opportunities for Sustainability Excellence

Cannabis generates waste — about 150 million tons per year according to data from GAIACA Waste Revitalization. Cannabis waste presents both a challenge and bold opportunities for driving excellence in protecting our planet and building a more sustainable and inclusive industry. 

The Environmental Focus (section 3) of this standard provides a holistic approach to addressing the challenge, including considerations for land management, energy, water, and waste. It also provides guidance for cultivation, manufacturing, retail-specific operations, and distribution and transport. 

Our focus on sustainability is comprehensive and it requires bold action. 

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NACB’s Sustainability Standard Is:

Transparent — Members and the public now have greater opportunities to use the standard to develop internal programs and systems, including our self-audit checklist, to promote a culture of excellence in this area. 

Compliant — A handful of forward-thinking states have already enacted cannabis waste management regulations and guidance. The Sustainability Standard represents best practices common to many industries as well as cannabis-specific practices and policies. By developing, documenting, and complying with this standard, NACB members put themselves in a stronger position to comply with current regulations and anticipate those that have yet to be enacted. 

Inclusive — NACB members must encourage the participation and inclusion of underrepresented groups by providing relevant opportunities, activating diversity, and elevating equity. By addressing these areas of employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and workers’ rights, NACB members are held accountable to the highest professional standards.

“In particular, people of color have faced obstacles in joining the burgeoning legal cannabis industry. Regardless of bearing the brunt of marijuana arrests from the United States’ war on drugs, many entrepreneurs are now making social justice a standard — even a necessity — in approaching the growing field,” said Chriscilia Cox, Suma Consulting, NACB member, and industry expert who helped to create this standard.

NACB members are committing to making a difference in people’s lives. We encourage you and your organization to join us in adopting this new Sustainability Standard. You may read the standard and get a copy of our Sustainability Self-Audit Checklist by visiting our website at NACB.com. We are all in this together, and it is our duty to care for our planet and each other.


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