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ESG Resolution 2022: Do Well and Do Good

Canopy Growth Corporation released its 2021 ESG Report today, highlighting the Canadian cannabis giant's year-long efforts to unleash "the power of cannabis to improve lives." As the 71-page report details, the company is "building an organization that is made with intention and defined by purpose, reflecting the shared values of our customers, employees, partners, and investors." They're also measuring and reporting on those efforts, putting necessary pressure on an industry that's too often more lip service than action in its Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) efforts.

Certainly, one could argue that a corporation earning more than $600 million CAD in revenue in 2021 would have the budget to commit resources to plan, execute, and report on measured efforts to do good. And I'd agree! But I'd also argue that any cannabis business's budget can – and should – accommodate similar efforts.

At minimum, the Canopy report provides inspiration. Regardless of whether a business exists in a state that mandates positive impact plans, all cannabis businesses have a responsibility to do some good while profiting from the sale of a plant that more than 40,000 individuals remain incarcerated for selling or possessing. So why not weave that responsibility into a brand and company culture, and then tell the world about it?

As much as I hate to say "it's good for marketing" when working with a client on this type of work, it usually is. And when a business has someone responsible for researching, planning, executing, measuring, and reporting on ESG efforts, the business can utilize both the data and results to elicit positive sentiment from its host community, staff, and customers while driving revenue. Being good is a win-win!

It's also a competitive advantage.

Legalization is spreading, and weed doesn't just sell itself anymore. New and experienced consumers alike want to connect with brands and people, and they increasingly understand how their purchasing power can lift a benevolent business or crush a corporation perceived to be nefarious or irresponsible. Use the Canopy report as a template for both planning and reporting on ESG efforts, share your version of the report with your staff and customers, and then work with your marketing and sales teams to measure your report's impact on your revenue.

Contact me for help with making your cannabis business a better corporate citizen and sharing that work publicly. Let's do some good!


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