April 13, 2021
Carbon Conscious Certification for cannabis cultivators launches in Boulder County
Certification recognizes commercial growers reducing their climate impact
Boulder County, CO — In partnership with The Cannabis Conservancy*, Boulder County launched the Boulder County Carbon Conscious Certification (BCCCC) for licensed commercial cannabis cultivators. The certification recognizes cultivators who have exhibited a commitment towards saving energy and reducing their carbon footprint.
Indoor marijuana cultivation has a significant climate impact due to energy intensive lighting and cooling systems. It is estimated that indoor cannabis production accounts for 1.3% of Colorado’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Recognizing this challenge, Boulder County and local growers have been working to reduce the environmental impact of this fast growing industry.
Boulder County requires commercial cannabis cultivators to either offset their electricity use with local renewable energy or pay an energy surcharge. Fees collected from the surcharge are placed into the Boulder County Energy Impact Offset Fund (EIOF)*, which is used to support carbon reduction initiatives. Boulder County’s EIOF Steering Committee, in partnership with The Cannabis Conservancy, created this certification to support stewardship and accountability within the cannabis cultivation market.
"The BCCCC seal allows the consumer and others in the supply chain to know that they’re supporting a cultivator who is working towards carbon neutral cannabis production,” said Jacob Policzer, Co-founder and Director of Science and Strategy at The Cannabis Conservancy. “We want to celebrate and support the leadership that these producers are exhibiting to tackle the climate emergency."
The certification process involves the adoption of a step-by-step framework for meaningful reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions. This includes energy assessment and monitoring and the development of cultivation plans, energy optimization goals, and a low carbon policy. View the full Certification Body Standards here.
Benefits of the certification include increased consumer and public awareness and profile-boosting industry recognition. The certification process is designed to help cultivators with strategic energy management, implementation guidance, and compliance support.
“The commercial cultivation of cannabis requires a large amount of energy that often comes from the burning of fossil fuels. These high levels of energy consumption are not only costly for businesses, but they help fuel the climate crisis," said Ambra Sutherlin, Boulder County Business Sustainability Advisor and EIOF Liaison. "Last year, Boulder County's cannabis cultivators experienced the catastrophic impacts of climate-fueled wildfires and they understand the importance of taking action. They also see the value in this certification’s strategic energy management plan in bringing down energy costs, while allowing them to sell a more sustainable and low carbon product that differentiates their business in the eyes of the environmentally aware consumer.”
About The Cannabis Conservancy:
The Cannabis Conservancy’s mission is to empower and assure that the regulated cannabis industry achieves environmental, economic, and social sustainability. The Cannabis Conservancy provides Sustainability Certification to legal cannabis organizations that adhere to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), are free of harmful chemical inputs, utilize waste reduction methods, are energy efficient, and conserve water.
About Boulder County’s Energy Impact Offset Fund (EIOF):
Because of its proportionally significant contribution to climate change, Boulder County requires commercial cannabis cultivators to either offset their electricity use with local renewable energy or pay a 2.16 cent charge per kWh. Fees collected from this surcharge are placed into the EIOF. This fund is used to educate and support best in industry practices with regards to energy usage, as well as for the funding of carbon pollution reducing projects including low income renewable energy services. This program also collects high-quality energy usage data to support researchers developing efficient lighting and ventilation systems for this rapidly growing industry.
Mission of the Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience
Our mission is to advance policies and programs that conserve resources, protect the environment, and safeguard our climate in order to build a sustainable, just, and resilient community.