#ESGinvesting

Restore our Earth and Start Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Today we celebrate Earth Day and sticking to the theme of this year’s Earth Day, “Restore Our Earth”, this blog post is focusing on restoring the world’s ecosystems by helping you reduce your carbon footprint.

Did you know that meat and cheese are some of the most carbon-intensive foods to produce?(1) Globally, 77% of agricultural land is used to produce meat and dairy and according to The Land Report, the meat and dairy industries are on track to be the world’s biggest contributors to climate change, outpacing even the fossil fuel industry. In just the U.S. alone, 41% of U.S. land in the contiguous states revolves around livestock.(2) According to the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the methane produced by agricultural waste (biomass, inedible crop waste, livestock manure) accounted for 36% of the U.S. total methane emissions between 1990 and 2017. While methane represented about 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, the EPA notes the comparative impact of methane is “25 times greater than CO2”.

Having a balanced diet is just one way to reduce your carbon footprint and we invite you to explore the many other ways you can reduce your carbon footprint by experimenting with the MIT Interactive Climate Change Simulator, EN-ROADS. Click HERE to test out the EN-ROADS simulator.

You may be asking how this ties in with my investments and BFSG? Many of our clients are expecting more than just shareholder returns from the public companies in which they invest. They want these companies to have management and leadership in place that is mindful of the footprint that they leave in the world. We agree companies should uphold their basic responsibilities to people and the planet. Furthermore, we believe exposure to environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors can meaningfully impact the long-term sustainability of a company’s business.  We are now proud to say that we have several different new ESG investment strategies to meet our clients’ investing goals and objectives. Whether you are passionate about environmental opportunities that will reduce greenhouse gasses or are looking to invest broadly in companies that meet the ESG criteria, we have a portfolio strategy for you.

Disclosure: BFSG does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to BFSG’s web site or blog or incorporated herein and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please see important disclosure information here.

Is Pot Growing Environmentally Friendly?

Now that cannabis is legal in many states, it may be the case that pot users and investors think that cannabis is environmentally friendly, but it is not! Growing marijuana indoors takes an enormous amount of electricity, water, and chemicals. In other words, growing cannabis is energy-intensive and unfriendly to the environment.

Evan Mills writes in Slate, that a Colorado Study looked at the cannabis industry and found that this industry emits more carbon dioxide emissions than the coal industry. The environmental consequences of growing pot in national wildlands have been known for years. Toxic chemicals and fertilizers not only pollute the soil but waterways and wildlife. Now that cannabis is largely grown indoors, it indirectly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions by using massive amounts of electricity and water.

Pot is grown in large windowless warehouses because cannabis farmers can eliminate worry about weather and climate which gives them control of their crop. In order to grow cannabis indoors, factory farmers need large amounts of electricity, water, fertilizers, synthetic soils, and chemicals. All of this causes massive amounts of waste because little of this can be recycled. What may be good for the stock Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG), for example, may be bad for the environment. Dumping of used soils contributes to groundwater pollution which isn’t any different from the aerospace manufacturers who dumped toxic chemicals on the ground that has leached into aquifers.

According to Evans, one large California cannabis factory uses enough electricity to power 90,000 homes. We estimate that the minimum water usage for this mega-factory would be 450,000 gallons of water per day which is more than Arrowhead Water pumps out of the San Bernardino Mountain springs each and every day.

Where are the regulators, the Environmental Protection Agency, Sierra Club, National Resource Defense Council, and others? With all the politicians being concerned about climate change, why are not these people asking questions?

Pot growing used to be the purview of backyard gardeners, college students growing cannabis in their dorm rooms or apartments, and cartels growing pot in national forests and South America. This is no longer the case with cannabis being the most profitable cash crop in America. Armies of MBAs are in charge of a growing industry. Pot growing has become very sophisticated and industrialized.

Growing cannabis indoors will require an upgrade to the nation’s grid system and power-producing capacities. Good luck with that when power producers and distributors will have to contend with a gigantic increase in power demand from the electrification of cars.

There is a solution where cannabis users can “have their pot and eat it too” Mills says, grow cannabis outdoors like farmers grow most other crops. As with industrial farming, there will be an overuse of fertilizers that will injure soils and pollute underground aquifers and waterways. Chemicals will be needed to eliminate weeds and insects that will be environmentally toxic.  We suppose cannabis growing in most cases is not environmentally friendly whether grown inside or out.

Sources:

Mills, E. (2021). To make cannabis green we need to grow it outdoors. Slate. Retrieved on March 16, 2021. https://slate.com/technology/2021/03/cannabis-environment-energy-indoor-outdoor-growth-climate-change.html

US Environmental Protection Agency (2021). Retrieved on March 16, 2021. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/overview-greenhouse-gases

Disclosure: BFSG does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to BFSG’s web site or blog or incorporated herein and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please see important disclosure information here.