BioHarvest Looks to Make Cannabis More Sustainable
October 13th, 2021
App, Exclusive, News, Top Story
Investors have become increasingly environmentally conscious over the past few years, evidenced by the tremendous growth in ESG funds. But, unfortunately, investors in the cannabis industry may be surprised by its significant environmental impact. Fortunately, many companies are working to improve the situation and make the industry more “green.”
Let’s take a closer look at the cannabis industry’s sustainability challenges and how BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) could provide an ideal solution through its BioFarming breakthrough technology.
A Sustainability Problem
The cannabis movement may have its roots in nature, but the modern industry has a surprisingly significant environmental impact. According to one study, a single kilogram of processed cannabis results in 4,600 kilograms of CO2 emissions. That’s roughly equivalent to driving across the U.S. eleven times in a 44 mpg vehicle!
The sustainability challenges don’t stop with emissions:
- Indoor Cannabis cultivation is extremely energy intensive, as it employs high intensity lighting, and requires heating, cooling and dehumidification, during most of the day. For example, indoor cannabis cultivation facilities in Massachusetts consume about 10% of all industrial electricity consumption in the state.
- A Washington Post article claims that outdoor grow operations in Northern California required approximately 430 million liters of water per square kilometer.
- Regulations that require child-resistant packaging and individual wrapping result in significant amounts of plastic waste in the landfill—or worse, in lakes or oceans worldwide.
- Plant waste from trimmings must often be mixed with approved non-consumable material before being sent to a landfill, resulting in millions of pounds of bio-waste each year.
- The widespread use of pesticides to control indoor and outdoor grow operations leads to a high amount of contaminated wastewater that enters rivers and streams.
With increased competition following legalization, cannabis producers have little incentive to introduce expensive solutions to these problems, such as investing in on-site renewable energy or recyclable packaging materials. And many governments are reluctant to change regulations designed to protect children and ensure safe products.
BioHarvest’s Unique Solution
BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) invented BioFarming to isolate and produce the most valuable active ingredients in the plant kingdom, and the BioFarming platform has profound sustainability advantages over both indoor and outdoor cultivation. It produces a high consistency, non-GMO, pesticide/solvent/pathogen free, plant-based product – at a fraction of the current market production costs. The process requires 80% less land than indoor cultivation, 90% less land than outdoor cultivation, significantly less energy, and far less labor. Not only does it require fewer resources, it has fewer byproducts- no direct greenhouse gas “GHG” emissions (Scope 1) , no hazardous waste, and only produces 100% biodegradable wastewater.
Benefits of Biofarming – Source: BioHarvest
The process involves five steps:
- The team selects a cannabis plant with a desirable phytochemical make-up (e.g., ideal cannabinoid and terpene levels).
- Specific plant cells that produce the desired active ingredients are inserted into a solid medium containing nutrients in a controlled environment.
- The cells grow in the controlled environment and form a “cell bank,” providing perpetual production without the mother plant.
- The plant cells grow in liquid mediums for an unlimited number of production cycles and produce biomass.
- The team harvests the biomass at regular intervals and converts it into a powder form for products.
Despite already having strong sustainability credentials, BioHavest has set even higher efficiency targets. By 2025, the company aims to improve water efficiency by 10% per ton of product, improve energy intensity by 25% per ton of product, reduce operational plastic use by 20%, and achieve 90% use of recyclable packaging materials, according to its 2021 ESG report. These improvements could further cement it as a sustainability leader in the space.
Earlier this year, the company announced its first cell reservoir producing cannabis trichomes—natural micro-factories producing cannabinoids. While conventional cultivation takes 14 to 23 weeks, the company’s trichomes have a growth cycle of just three to four weeks, enabling unprecedented levels of efficiency and consistency.
Investing in the Solution
BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) could revolutionize the cannabis industry with its innovative biofarming technology. However, investors don’t need to wait years to see revenue and profits—the company is already leveraging the same technology to extract the beneficial components of red grapes (resveratrol) with its VINIA product line.
Last quarter, the company announced VINIA sales of US$688,000 in Israel and from it’s pilot launch in the U.S., representing 44% growth over the prior quarter and 1,198% growth over the preceding year. The company also raised nearly US$8 million through private placements and the exercise of warrants, providing ample capital to scale up its production efforts.
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In addition to its robust growth, the company is one of the few small companies that issue ESG reporting. Aside from the aforementioned sustainability benefits, the company also notes that its management team consists of 52% women and 100% of its employees are part of a stock option program. The company also outlines many of its long-term sustainability goals.
Investors may want to look at the stock following these achievements as it expands into the cannabis industry. Learn more by visiting the company’s website or downloading their investor presentation.
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