Cannabis – Building a Sustainable and Responsible Value Chain

Cannabis products have been increasingly in the media spotlight recently. A range of products are created from the cannabis plant. In landmark legislation, from 1st November 2018 medicines based on cannabis were permitted for prescription by specialist doctors in the UK. Further uses derived from the cannabis plant include beauty products, food supplements (e.g. oils and CBD oils), fuel, materials and fibres.

Across Europe the legal growing of cannabis is increasing as demand for the derivatives increases. With regulatory changes in Canada and USA this has further driven global demand for the production of cannabis. The legal cannabis industry is growing with the particular focus on the cultivation of industrial hemp for a multitude of applications.

A significant challenge for regulators is to create a responsible and sustainable value chain that operates within a properly regulated marketplace.  

An additional challenge is that for many consumers there is an element of confusion based on the products and their claimed virtues/efficacy and their sourcing. Modern cannabis production for the current uses is growing significantly and there are many brands now containing cannabis derivatives. Global brands that are well-recognised by consumers are also announcing plans to include cannabis derivatives in their products. The use of cannabis in products is emerging fast and gathering pace and this creates a demand for increased cultivation of crops.

The legal production of cannabis for legitimate value chains can be conducted sustainably and responsibly by taking a number of steps to navigate the complexities of the marketplace. Operators need to apply the right level of rigour to understand their value chain and to ensure that the chain is behaving responsibly, ethically and sustainably. To build trust in the marketplace sourcing needs to ensure that all participants in the chain are acting appropriately.

ADAS can offer support in building a sustainable, legal and legitimate cannabis value chain by helping to build trust across the sector and by supporting the primary producers of cannabis crops at the farm stage. We can provide support across all stages of the value chain and can enable the development of vertically integrated cannabis value chains. ADAS will help you to build trust in the sector.

Our services include:

Strategic Value Chain Support

  • Novel Food Application for CBD Products – complete support partner for Novel Food applications that have to be made to the FSA by 31st March 2021
  • Economic analysis of the value and impact of UK agricultural production of cannabis crops
  • Analysis of value chains to screen on transparency and creating visibility
  • Strategic advice on value chain creation
  • Facilitation in marketplace hubs to build trust and reputation to build communities of practice and knowledge networks
  • Sustainability impact and risk assessments across the value chain
  • Advisory / Assessment of carbon zero potential in cannabis value chains
  • Development of protocols and standards for sustainable production
  • Consultancy support on achieving compliance to the Global Cannabis Partnership Responsible Cannabis Framework
  • Advisory to value chain operators on responsible sourcing of cannabis crops
  • Assessment of value chains to review against operator requirements
  • Guidance on how cannabis crops could be beneficial to natural ecosystems
  • Support on grants/funding streams for cannabis marketplace development
  • Sustainability claims and disclosures support
  • Sustainability communications and reporting to international frameworks (e.g. Global Reporting Initiative)
  • For CBD oil producers we can support by helping to undertake sustainability impact assessments of other ingredients (e.g. coconut oils)

Practical Farmer Stage Support

  • Direct individual advisory support for growers on compliance including licence application support
  • Support on the sustainable growing of cannabis according to specification, yield and  quality
  • Guidance across the crop lifecycle to produce positive cultivation outcomes
  • Conducting research and trials  
  • Modelling to compare business and production dynamics for different crops

Cannabis value chains can provide opportunities and risks to operators, but by taking the right precautionary approach operators can ensure they are adding value to the marketplace. ADAS is playing a consultative role in the sector and only works in the role of an independent operator working with legitimate and legal value chain partners and does not engage in lobbying for any changes in cannabis related regulations.

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