Growing Green: Our Commitment To Sustainability

Sustainability needs to be top of mind in the cannabis industry. Our founder, Nick Piedmonte, explains our innovative program that will work to reduced the outsized impact our growers have on the environment, but we can do something about it.

The climate excesses of the indoor cultivation industry are difficult to comprehend. A new study by Colorado State University is shedding light on the obscene carbon footprint originating from indoor grows. By some measures, the amount of greenhouse gases produced to grow, harvest and dry indoor marijuana in Michigan is over 4,000x the weight of the flower; nearly 2 tons per lb. Tertiary factors include standard business practices like growers adding CO2 to the environment to stimulate photosynthesis, and high-power grow lights. By an enormous margin however, the largest GHG contributor in Michigan grows is the electricity and natural gas used to power and heat industrial cultivation facilities. It’s common knowledge that indoor grows require a stupid amount of power.

At Dunegrass we take this shit seriously, and the issue hits home for me personally. In a prior life I was the Director of Carbon Management for Sustainable Travel International. As the supply-side economics of marijuana continue to tilt in our favor, it’s truly Michigan’s retailers who’re empowered to drive change. It’s nearing the time for Dunegrass to flex our distribution toward mitigating the climate excesses of our suppliers. So, we’ll soon begin implementing a carbon management program that accounts for the carbon cost of our wholesale flower.

Using Colorado State University’s new GHG emissions map we can cross-reference where our grow partners are located against the average footprint of flower grown in their respective county. 1kg of flower from Ingham County, for example, generates 4.083 tons of carbon or 1.85 tons per lb. For a period of time, we’ll provide these reports to our grow partners as supplemental information. But in time we’ll begin requiring grow partners to offset the carbon footprint of inbound product through our own Verified Carbon Standard account, where we can purchase and retire Verified Carbon Units. In time, every gram of flower that leaves a Dunegrass facility will be carbon neutral at the point of purchase. Eventually, growers that don’t cooperate will be replaced with ones that do. 

We’ll still need to unpack processing (which effectively uses the same feedstocks from the same in-state growers,) secure transport and delivery emissions. All in good time. For now, the carbon-neutral flower program should be a first-of-its-kind in Michigan. Hopefully the first of many.

Sustainability will remain a feature of our business because it’s not just a part of the future, we simply don’t have a future without it. To learn more, please reach out.