Sustainable Leadership Awards in Cannabis Wrapping Up for 2023 Soon

Sustainability has become a popular buzzword throughout the cannabis industry as many brands and companies race to claim they’re the most environmentally friendly – but how many of said entities are actually practicing what they’re preaching?

Sustainable living is increasingly prevalent and necessary throughout the globe, and for an industry that has been notoriously wasteful, it’s essential that cannabis operators are held accountable for their carbon footprints. 

 Award-winning quarterly publication Cannabis & Tech Today is at the helm of this sustainable scrutiny with their Sustainable Leadership Awards, which closely examines qualifying cannabis operators to ensure they’re being compliant and ethical when it comes to things like sustainable growing practices, eco-friendly packaging, and every other step along the line of production.

We sat down with Editor-in-Chief Charles Warner to discuss the awards ceremony, the submissions process, and what to look out for in regards to sustainability for 2023.

Leafwire: What are the Annual Cannabis & Tech Today Sustainable Leadership Awards?

Charles Warner: One of the main things we focus on as a publication is sustainability, and the intersection of sustainability with businesses. We don’t just view it as a nice thing to do – it’s bottom-line-oriented and strategic, and we treat it as such.

We are the tip of the spear when it comes to sustainability in cannabis, and this awards process is our chance to champion and celebrate thos companies that truly are leading the way when it comes to sustainability. 

LW: When did the Sustainable Leadership Awards first come to fruition?

CW: We launched the Leadership Awards in 2019 at MJBizCon, and we saw a lot of success there. This year is a continuation of that – our third annual awards process thus far. We’ve taken applications from companies who feel they are leading the industry in sustainability, and we offer multiple categories they can enter to win. 

LW: What’s new or different about this year’s awards?

CW: We’ve added some new categories. In the beginning we had about four, and this year we have nine: water, energy, innovation, packaging, stewardship, events, ESG standards, social impact, and sustainable development goals. 

The category additions were actually at the suggestion of cannabis advisory and resource board Regennabis, who we’ve partnered with on the judgment process each and every year.. They came to us and said, “Let’s make sure this is inclusive to everyone who wants to be part of it, and really ensure we’re not leaving any aspect of sustainability out of the picture,” and we fully agreed.

However, we don’t have categories just to have categories: if we don’t feel like we have worthy entrants for any of the categories – which actually happened in a few cases last year – we won’t give out that award. We’re discerning and careful with our choices, and we want to celebrate and honor all of the companies who truly deserve it. 

LW: How are the awards measured and decided to be given out?

CW: When companies enter, we ask for them to describe their project, their focus, and their goals, and then we dial in on those results. We want this to be something that is quantitative, so we need to see measurable results.

We dig deep when it comes to asking for proof and not just taking their word for it. A lot of companies try to green-wash, so we really dive into those claims, which we feel helps raise the bar for the entire industry. 

LW: What sort of value can companies gain from earning a Sustainable Leadership award?

CW: For the companies who win, it’s a nice feather in their cap. They get a physical award, along with digital assets – like graphics and logos – that they can use on their websites and social pages to really be proud of. They’ll also get coverage and recognition throughout the year in our magazine, podcast, and CBDTV, while we continue to talk about sustainability both online and in print.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Companies love to tell their employees how they won something, because it does matter for recruiting, and for those employees who care about saying they work for a company that really values sustainability. That’s a powerful thing to be able to verify through winning an award that is recognized within the industry.

And for us, it gives us a major opportunity as a magazine to get what we celebrate. If we celebrate sustainability, we think we can help the entire industry by putting these deserving companies in the spotlight and encouraging others to follow.

LW: Where and when does the awarding take place?

CW: The entrance cuts off at the end of January. At that point, we’ll update the winners on our website, and we’ll be announcing them officially in our next issue. 

We’ll also continue to talk about it throughout the entire year, including them in podcasts, stories, features, etc. This is an annual event, so once we have the winners determined, we’ll be talking about them and celebrating them up until it is time for 2024’s awards.

LW: What is the entry process like for interested companies?

CW: It is so easy. Interested companies can enter for consideration here.The Annual Cannabis & Tech Today Sustainable Leadership Awards.  There’s a nominal entry fee, which helps us pay for the awards, promotion, and the time our staff spends pouring through entries and ensuring we’re picking good winners. 

We’re also looking for someone who would want to be a title sponsor, so if there’s an interested brand out there who really wants to associate themselves with this awards program as a whole and shepherd the industry forward, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. 

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