Canadian cannabis producer Hexo Corp. has reached its target to become carbon neutral within three months, the company announced Thursday.
The publicly traded, Ottawa, Ontario-based company spent at least $784,000 to meet its goal to become carbon neutral by September. Hexo purchased carbon offset credits from Offsetters, a Vancouver sustainability and carbon-management provider.
To date, the company says it has offset nearly 26,000 metric tons of carbon (28,660 tons in the U.S.), including 19,610 metric tons in operational emissions and 6,355 metric tons of carbon generated by its 12,000 employees.
By next month, Hexo estimates it will have purchased credits to offset 71,000 kilograms (156,528 pounds) of plastic, which equates to more than 3.5 million plastic bottles.
The company estimates a per-employee cost of $1,000 CAD ($784) to offset its employees’ emissions; however, it did not disclose how much it cost to offset operational emissions or plastic.
“I’m tremendously excited by it,” Sebastien St. Louis, co-founder and CEO of Hexo told Hemp Industry Daily.
“I hope that other companies see this as a bit of a challenge and a bit of a wake-up call, and I hope we get others following suit. But I’m extremely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish at Hexo.”
The organization has also closed its acquisitions of Ontario-based cannabis producers Redecan and 48North, for a combined $450 million, and has plans to carry its carbon neutrality targets into both of those businesses and into its U.S. businesses, according to a company statement.
Primarily a marijuana company that is expanding into hemp, Hexo launched a line of hemp-derived CBD beverages in Colorado earlier this year through Truss Beverages, a joint venture with Molson Coors.
“Now we’re carbon neutral, but … I’m also concentrated on actually continuing to make our footprint smaller, so as Hexo gets bigger, we have an ability to make more impact,” St. Louis told Hemp Industry Daily.
“We’re looking at green energy sources, like, obviously in Quebec we use hydroelectric power mostly, but now, in Ontario, we’re … starting to look at renewable sources of power for our next expansion. So how can that contribute to making us have a smaller footprint, even than we have today, while we continue to offset.”
St. Louis said the time is now to act on the planet’s climate crisis, and he’s hoping to use his platform to influence other companies in the cannabis space and beyond to join in the effort.
“I personally feel that not enough is being done on a global scale or anywhere to fix this problem, and it’s time for us to wake up as a society,” St. Louis said.
“I mean, New York was literally underwater with the hurricane that went through Louisiana, over land and put Manhattan underwater. If that’s not enough of a wake-up call for people, like at what point does that need to happen permanently for people to freak out and go, ‘OK, wait, we need to do something about this?’”
Political infighting, he said, is causing delays, and while individuals can make small impacts, it’s going to take commitment by corporations to make a difference.
“What I hope will happen is that we get other corporations in the cannabis space,” St. Louis said.
“I hope our consumers will start to see that example and will choose … both on the public markets but also the products that they purchase, and they will demand the green product and that will force our competition to join.
“That would be a great thing, because if you can get kind of a mass movement around this, and it’s not an overly complex thing to do, we could really make a huge dent toward solving the climate crisis.”
Laura Drotleff can be reached at [email protected]