New certification standards will encourage and validate actions by members of the global cannabis industry to advance environmental stewardship, social responsibility and good governance, delegates of the second annual World Cannabis Congress heard today.
The Global Cannabis Partnership (GCP), a collaboration of leaders in the government-sanctioned cannabis industry, released today a corporate social responsibility framework that its 45-member organizations have agreed to adhere to, establishing a standard for the new and rapidly growing cannabis industry worldwide.
“We’re building an industry for the future,” said the GCP’s Executive Director Kim Wilson. “It’s one thing to have a legal license to operate; earning and keeping a social license is another story. We have a long road ahead of us, but today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction.”
The world’s first Responsible Cannabis Framework (RCF) seeks to positively influence the industry’s impacts on the environment and society, and aims to support GCP members in continually improving their corporate performance over time.
Using best practices from within and outside the industry, the RCF goes beyond minimum compliance with all relevant and applicable laws, articulating expectations of members for evaluating, developing, implementing, measuring and disclosing their environmental, social and governance initiatives.
“The RCF was developed through extensive research and consultation with a variety of stakeholders,” said Rick Petersen, one of the world’s experts in corporate responsibility and author of the Framework. “We knew that we could rely on the experience of other industries, while at the same time coming up with the right steps to meet the challenges in our specific sector.”
Members have all agreed to the Framework’s four guiding principles – responsibility, collaboration, transparency and continuous improvement – and have up to a year to complete work necessary to apply for one of four certification categories. Minimum requirements include, among others, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions; promoting responsible use, and reinforcing ethical conduct. The formal certification process was developed by EY and member applications will be submitted to an independent evaluation panel.
The GCP expects members to make improvements when Framework standards are not met and to develop mechanisms to ensure ongoing compliance and continuous improvement.
“The industry is responding positively to the work we’re doing,” Wilson said. “Whether they are CEOs, regulators, new entrants to the space or consumers, all recognize that by working together we’re in a unique position to set a new bar for socially responsible practices.”