WeedMD is committed to advancing its Social Responsibility; it is the core of our everyday business operations. We are making meaningful contributions to do social good for our people, products, and environment and in recognition of Earth Day 2021, we’re proud to share the initiatives we’re undertaking.
Leading Change to Make Environmentally Responsible Choices in the Cannabis Industry
As cultivators, we care about the plants we grow and the people who consume what we produce. But we also care about the impact our industry and products have on our communities, our environment, and our planet. At the very core of our Company’s value system is a commitment to be leaders in environmental practices and to hold ourselves accountable to using eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Because to us, everyday is Earth Day.
That is our goal and is rooted in our people. More recently, WeedMD has started promoting cultivation talent from within, particularly those that have a combination of cultivation experience and background in sustainable farming practices. In conversation with Stephen Westendorp, Cultivation Manager, about what a sustainable future looks like, his reply: “generate a zero-carbon facility.” We are always thinking big, and our path to that goal starts with our forward-thinking sustainability initiatives and our actions. Stephen is well-versed in commercial hybrid greenhouse climate controls and automation applications and experienced in an array of growing practices and most interestingly, has a post-graduate certification in renewable energy and sustainability. Stephen is a recipient of the Enbridge Renewable Energies scholarship. This is going to be a key role going forward at WeedMD as we now move into a sustaining model of cultivation.
Nick Blaney, Cultivation Systems Manager & Alternate Master Grower, said it best, “The cannabis industry is evolving as we move towards exciting new technologies that will increase our environmental responsibility and ultimately make our plants happier too.” Over the last two years, Nick has been instrumental in the development, alignment and supervision of our irrigation and cultivation/growing practices in both our greenhouse and outdoor field in Strathroy. Nick has a background in horticultural studies, business economics and is a scholarship recipient of the Ontario Golf Superintendent’s Association award from the University of Guelph. Our watering strategy is a direct result of the sustainable blueprint that Nick and his team set up for WeedMD.
From beginning to end, here is what we are doing
Starting With Water
Water is a valuable resource, and we treat it that way. Our strategy for water reclamation is the process of converting cultivation wastewater into usable water for irrigation in our greenhouse and outdoor grow. Being mindful of where our wastewater goes, we have developed a method to conserve water and eliminate its risk of going into community watersheds. Even though our Strathroy cultivation site is equipped with on-site unlimited supply of natural clean water reservoirs, we’ve made water reclamation a standard practice at WeedMD.
Smart Energy Consumption
How do we use ecologically sound methods to reduce our carbon footprint? It starts with intelligent technology in our fully automated greenhouse – monitoring and controlling the water consumption, temperature, humidity, and lighting.
Our primary source of energy is the sun; our greenhouse is designed for our plants to thrive in natural light where they perform best. If supplementary lighting is needed, we have entered a trial stage to add LED lighting to our existing infrastructure, further reducing energy consumption. LED lighting is not only incredibly efficient but also 100% recyclable, contributing to less landfill waste.
Ensuring we have a sustainable way to grow our plants starts with the materials we use to grow. Moving into an organic carbon-based media has shown to be effective in retaining nutrients, resulting in growth and an overall better spectrum of our plants. Keeping our soil healthy also involves eliminating pesticides. Our pest management processes distribute different species, including predator bugs to control pest populations through naturally formed habitats.
Cannabis production can produce a lot of waste. At WeedMD we turn our waste into a compostable material it is used on our outdoor grow. This recovered biomass enriches the soil and enhances ecosystems.
PPE – Reusable Equipment
We are constantly adapting to changing environmental needs, with COVID-19 we discovered our PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) waste was not sustainable. Our employees jumped into action and we now all wear scrubs on site as opposed to disposable coveralls. We now have a partnership with a third-party supplier that sanitizes and cleans our protective re-usable equipment such as scrubs, safety glasses and industrial 3M face masks.
Moving to a new packaging source was crucial to both our consumers and distributors. Introducing nitrogen-flushed packaging helps preserve the aromatic terpenes and maintain freshness while reducing the total weight of packaging waste by over 80 percent.
All our employees spearhead our environmental stewardship. We know we can make strides to be one of the most sustainable industries.
Happy Earth Day!