Carbon emissions reached an all-time high just before the Covid-19 lockdowns started. The hemp industry has fostered a young culture of carbon awareness. Here are some of the developments.
How the Carbon Capture of Hemp Can Help Reduce Emissions – Live on the Canxchange website.
Carbon emissions reached all-time highs before the COVID-19 pandemic. With such unprecedented rates of emission, we are constantly measuring how to reduce our output.
Around the world, governments incentivise manufacturing businesses to reduce carbon emissions in newer products. Cars, for example, are increasingly regulated. But other businesses exist on the other end of the spectrum—such as the hemp industry. Hemp cultivation produces net negative carbon emissions. That means that the hemp industry actively contributes to the solution to carbon emissions.
So, exactly how much carbon does hemp capture? What about the other carbon-capturing practices and businesses?
Environmental impact: hemp vs. other ways of capturing CO2
Many studies already exist on the carbon capture of hemp. They differ in their conclusions, but not by a significant margin.
According to the European Industrial Hemp Association, one hectare of industrial hemp absorbs up to 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Another study by Hemp Tech Global found that one acre of industrial hemp absorbs 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide in just 3 to 4 months of growth.
These levels of carbon capture are significant. When compared to other crops, and plants overall, hemp has exceptional carbon absorption. However, it’s not normally the first plant that comes to mind when you talk about carbon reduction.
Most people think of trees as the first line of defence against excessive carbon emissions. Indeed, trees are undisputedly the most abundant, and one of the most efficient, tools that we have. However, as an active measure, we simply cannot rely on them alone. Unfortunately, that is even more true given the fact that we are still in the midst of a deforestation crisis. In the past 50 years alone, we’ve deforested 17% of the Amazon rainforest.
Hemp vs. trees
While the comparison might sound silly at first, hemp fields can actually be more effective than forests at capturing carbon.
According to Cambridge University research, planting hemp is more effective than planting trees. Whereas forests capture between 2 and 6 tonnes per hectare per year, hemp captures 8 to 15.
Carbon emission reduction after cultivation
In addition to carbon absorption, hemp contributes to fighting carbon emissions after its cultivation.
Hemp is one of the best converters of carbon dioxide to biomass. That’s because it can be used for carbon-negative bioplastics. Hemp is a great substitute for synthetic polymers like polyethene, which are used in most manufactured plastics. Hemp-based plastics are carbon-neutral when it comes to production, and then completely biodegradable.
There are even more products that hemp can be used for at a reduced rate of carbon emissions. It can replace materials used in construction, clothing manufacturing, and ropes.
The Natural Solution
Hemp is an easy and natural solution to a lot of our current excessive carbon emissions, offering immense versatility. It’s also been used for most of human agricultural history and only stopped being used by many countries in the 20th century.
While hemp has many uses, it also provides an alternative to fossil fuels. Fossil fuels like petrol contribute enormously to the excessive carbon emissions produced during the last 50 years. Hemp biofuel, on the other hand, is less polluting and is one of the most widely available fossil fuel substitutes.
Hemp can also help reduce CO2 emissions through biosequestration, which is a process that involves slowly smouldering cultivated hemp crops. After using it to produce tar, it is returned to the soil rather than being released into the air.
These hemp solutions might become more incentivised going forward. For hemp farmers, the opportunity to cash in on carbon credits is an added incentive. So far, this idea has primarily been explored by blockchain startups. But governments have also started awarding carbon credits for hemp farmers who meet their criteria.
Key tech start-ups operating in this space
Several hemp startups are taking the opportunity to capitalise on the crop’s potential.
Hempitecture is a US startup for environmentally-friendly architecture. The startup addresses environmental concerns that current construction practices are aggravating. They are working to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry through environmentally friendly hemp construction products.
Hemp can be used in the production of insulators and building blocks, removing the need for polluting materials. Hempitecture produces those materials for companies in the construction industry. They use a mineral-based binder to bond the hemp core through either cast-in-place or a spray. The result is lower carbon emissions in construction.
eHempHouse specialises in converting cultivated hemp into an environmentally friendly fuel. Hemp is already a carbon-negative plant. So, the process reduces CO2 emissions by both carbon capture and replacing processes that emit more carbon. In addition, the company converts hemp into products in the health, cosmetic, and textile industries.
Mirreco is an Australian startup that provides hemp solutions for:
- Green plastics
The startup seeks to maximise carbon capture in the industries where hemp can be applied. For example, the plastics and cosmetics industries normally require fossil fuels in their production. Then, plastics don’t easily degrade. Mirreco solves these issues with non-synthetic, hemp-based polymers.
Can hemp solve the carbon emissions crisis?
On its own, no single solution can solve such a complex problem. However, hemp is such a versatile crop that it can be applied across several industries and reduce carbon emissions in a wide variety of ways.
Hemp cultivation is now being slowly legalised around the world. It is providing use in carbon capture while replacing emission-producing materials and processes. In addition, more research is underway and many new startups are leading the way in finding new, green applications.
Charlotte’s Web full spectrum CBD passes novel foods validation
Charlotte’s Web is now the only vertically integrated US company with a full-spectrum hemp extract to have passed the UK novel foods validation phase.
Charlotte’s Web has passed validation in its FSA Novel Food applications for its original formula full-spectrum hemp extract product.
This marks a milestone for Charlotte’s Web, as it becomes the only vertically integrated US company with a full-spectrum hemp extract to have passed the UK novel foods validation phase. The product will now advance to the safety assessment phase. Charlotte’s Web said the approval uniquely positions the company in the growing UK CBD market.
Charlotte’s Web products are distributed in the UK by Savage Cabbage Ltd. Under the new Novel Foods regulatory framework, Savage Cabbage said it will leverage its extensive distribution network in the UK to expand the presence of Charlotte’s Web in retail distribution channels and on the high street. The company said that it is now preparing to expand distribution in the UK, EU and countries worldwide.
“Charlotte’s Web understands that product quality, safety, and brand values matter to global health seekers who are demanding premium full-spectrum products,” said Jacques Tortoroli, CEO of Charlotte’s Web, “It’s critical to scaffold these emerging markets with the high bar set by our proprietary hemp genetics, scientific rigour and innovation practices.
“International audiences are only now learning the difference between full-spectrum and isolate CBD products, which provides a great opportunity for education, product differentiation and consumer adoption as they begin to understand the health advantages inherent in full-spectrum products.”
Novel Foods are ingredients which have not been widely consumed by people in the UK or EU before May 1997. This includes cannabidiol (CBD) and other consumable derivatives of the hemp plant, including whole-plant hemp extract. Novel Foods needs to be authorised by the FSA before they can be included on the list of novel foods and marketed for sale.
In addition to its Novel Foods application, Charlotte’s Web is collaborating with The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) which is part of the Secretariat Advisory Board (SAB), a European consortium of the UK’s and Europe’s leading CBD and hemp trade bodies and groups. The SAB is focused on encouraging the development of clear UK regulation for CBD that reflects evidence-based policy to safely serve the public and wider national interests engaged in public wellness.
According to the Brightfield Group, the UK CBD market has grown rapidly in recent years. The number of CBD consumers virtually doubling in 2019 to reach over 7 per cent of the adult population in 2020, representing sales of more than US$250m in 2020, growing to an estimated US $1.3b by 2025.
JM Wholesale sees 750 products included on FSA CBD list
The CBD stockist has described the development as a milestone for the company.
Following a partnership with the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and active participation with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), JM Wholesale has had more than 750 items included on the public CBD list.
Earlier this year the FSA published its list of CBD products linked to what it deems as credible Novel Food applications. Products included on the list will be advancing through the final stages towards authorisation, expected by 2023.
More than 900 applications for thousands of UK products have been submitted for approval, with the majority being rejected for lacking basic information such as toxicity levels.
JM Wholesale has announced that it has now had 750 of its products included on the public list.
Thomas Lowe, operations director at the Leicester-based company, said that, after 200 per cent business growth in the past 18 months and a resulting move to major new premises, JM Wholesale is now perfectly placed to consolidate its position as the UK’s premier CBD wholesaler.
Lowe commented: “We have a larger range of approved CBD products than any other distributor and this moment is another milestone for our company.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our customers and our business are protected, by getting rid of any products not published on the FSA’s website, regardless of how big those brands are.
“In fact we’ve always loved finding unique products, including those where the CBD can be absorbed in different ways. That way, more people from different walks of life can enjoy CBD no matter how they prefer to access it.
“From our distribution centre we now provide the largest range of isolate and full spectrum CBD products in the UK, all of which are 100 per cent accepted by the FSA.
“We are the first distributor to add the relevant Novel Food classification numbers to all of our relevant listed products.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging for our industry but we have made efforts to take an active role in the novel food submission process. We anticipated regulation of this industry, we were determined not to let it stand in the way of the growth of our business, and we’ve participated accordingly.
“All in all, this is excellent news for our customers and partners.”
The company has stated that it has experienced rapid growth off the back of increased awareness of the health benefits of CBD products in the UK, and that, alongside its consumer business, it also exports to suppliers in the UK and in 170 countries worldwide.
Halo Collective announces new chief executive officer
Current CEO Kiran Sidhu has resigned as the result of a mutual agreement between Mr Sidhu and the board of Halo.
Halo Collective Inc has promoted its president Katharyn Field to the position of chief executive officer.
Kathryn Field has been appointed chief executive officer of Halo replacing current CEO Kiran Sidhu. Ms Field takes the helm at Halo with nearly a decade of direct cannabis experience, including strategy, retail, corporate development, legal & regulatory and investor relations.
She first entered the cannabis industry in 2014 at Costa Farms, where she led the procurement, build-out and sale of one of five original vertically integrated companies in Florida.
She subsequently operated a strategy consulting practise focused on cannabis and also worked at MariMed as EVP of Corporate Development. She joined the Halo executive team in April 2019, serving initially as chief strategy officer, before moving onto the role of president in February 2020. She became a board member in July 2021.
“Halo is very well-positioned in the US West Coast cannabis space with a strong consumer brand portfolio and a loyal customer base. In particular, we have developed a valuable portfolio of California assets including wholesale and white label manufacturing as well as retail assets in Los Angeles,” said Ms Field.
“My initial focus will be on streamlining the organisation to establish a rationalised, focused business comprised of assets that create the most value and hold the most promise. While sales are down in California year over year, our business is up. Furthermore, our manufacturing business is profitable and the Budega stores are trending well.
“I’m confident that by prioritising near-term profitability and bolstering our growing retail presence, Halo will be able to scale from a position of strength, which is the best path to generate shareholder value.”
Mr. Sidhu’s departure was the result of a mutual agreement between the board of Halo and Mr Sidhu, and “reflected the board’s view that the company and Akanda – of which Halo owns approximately 40 percent – need to prioritise near-term profitability”. Mr Sidhu will provide consulting services to the company for six months to facilitate a smooth leadership transition.
“The Board believes the time is right for not only a change in leadership, but a change in strategy, and Katie has the right experience and capabilities to leverage the company’s valuable assets to create tangible and sustainable shareholder value,” commented Ryan Kunkel, Chair of the Board.