Greenfern Industries has just been named New Zealand’s first Toitū carbonzero certified medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp company.
The Taranaki-based company received the news from environmental certification provider Toitū Envirocare last week after it conducted an audit of all activities relating to Greenfern that have a carbon footprint and the ways in which the company reduces its footprint.
“We’re incredibly proud of this certification as it speaks to our core value – to be New Zealand’s most environmentally friendly medicinal cannabis company,” managing director Dan Casey said.
“The medicinal cannabis industry has quite a large environmental and carbon footprint due to high energy inputs. We want to be a world-leading example of sustainability in the industry and to help set the standard for environmentally friendly cannabis and hemp production.”
A large focus over the past few months for Greenfern has been the work they’ve done on the hydroelectric power station they own on the Waingongoro River in Taranaki. Last month it was given the go-ahead by the Taranaki Regional Council to start generating power again after passing the final inspection of items that were historically in breach of resource consent conditions held by the
stations previous owner.
The power station sits alongside Greenfern’s research facility, indoor growing operation and processing facility.
“The highest overhead cost in a medicinal cannabis indoor growing operation is power. While having access to cost-price power is a game changer for us in terms of how competitive it will make the price of our products, being able to grow our plants in a more environmentally friendly way is just as
important to us,” Casey said.
The Toitū carbonzero certification process saw Greenfern analyse all aspects of its organisational carbon footprint, develop a reduction plan and get independently verified by Toitū Envirocare.
Casey said Greenfern had introduced a number of sustainability measures including the way in which it processes its hemp as efficiently as possible.
“Our hemp is harvested for its seed which is then processed and sold for use as a high protein meat substitute. But it doesn’t stop there. The by-products from the seed processing are also used in other products such as our hemp-based body care range - MaTo and hemp-based beer.”
Greenfern is also setting up a high-tech aeroponic grow room at its Taranaki headquarters which will use less water, fewer nutrients and less electricity when compared to conventional hydroponic cannabis grow rooms.
“With the medicinal cannabis industry having such a large environmental footprint globally, it seems wrong to introduce conventional cannabis production systems to New Zealand. We believe we have a responsibility to set an example in sustainable and carbon-neutral cannabis production for this budding new industry in New Zealand.
“We’ve built our business model from the ground up with sustainability in mind, with a focus on reducing water usage, reducing waste of all kinds and reducing our carbon footprint.”