The Gooddive: Medicinal cannabis is gathering speed, but are the sustainability claims just hot air?

With changing attitudes towards cannabis and legalisation gaining momentum internationally, innovative suppliers are creating exciting opportunities for investors. But is there a sustainable investing case for medicinal cannabis?  Since cannabis was illegal until recently, the ethical considerations of farming it haven’t yet been well canvassed.  As producers generally have large carbon footprints and are often linked to biotech companies involved in animal testing, or to tobacco-related products there are some unresolved environmental, legal, and even moral questions relating to the drug’s production. So where does cannabis farming rank on the Goodness scale?

Aurora Cannabis 
(ACB) -0.54% Goodments Score: 46  

Aurora Cannabis pitch their company’s soft side around social justice, self-care and picturesque scenes of the Rocky Mountains. To this end they support the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty, which seeks to expunge the criminal records of Canadians with historical possession offences. Aurora’s also campaigning to remove tax on medicinal cannabis, and with over 15,000kg produced in Q3 2019, they’re showing no signs of slowing down. You can check out their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) policy here.

Thanks to weak environmental reporting they lack transparency, so they’ve earned themselves an ‘Okay’ Goodness score for now.

Aphria Inc
(APHA)
-2.95% Goodments score: 43

“Powered by sunlight”, Aphria pride themselves on eco-friendly production methods like chemical-free greenhouses and custom-made fertilisers, with quality control testing every batch of cannabis produced (a somewhat hollow brag given strict industry standards in Canada). Aphria’s CSR manifests under the vaguely environmental platform “Plant Positivity”, which ‘champions plants and their benefits’. Designed to help continue to deliver on the Company’s commitment to give back to both people and the planet. The platform will be brought to life through three interconnected pillars – Plant Education, Plant Access, and Plant Impact. 

With a glut of medical cannabis predicted to flood the market, Aphria are eyeing foreign expansion, with a product designed for the German market launched last quarter. Based on their operations, we consider them below par on People, Planet and Ethics issues, which has led to their Okay Goodness score.

Canopy Growth Corporation
(CGC) 
-2.28% Goodments Score: 57  

Operating out of an abandoned chocolate factory in Ontario, Canopy Growth Corporation was the first Canadian cannabis company to go public in May 2018.

With a wide product range covering both the medical and recreational markets, Canopy don’t publish their sustainability reporting and have scored poorly on a Sustainalytics report which red-flagged their pesticide use and energy consumption. Instead, Canopy prefers to spruik their CSR with community-minded partnerships about driver safety, and ‘compassionate pricing’ to make cannabis affordable for medical consumers. They may have acres of Saskatchewan hemp, but they don’t appear to cultivate many sustainable environmental policies right now.

Like their stablemates, they’ve also received an Okay Goodness score.

5 more cannabis investments available on Goodments:

Pot Focussed Fund (MJ:US) -0.91% Goodments Score: 81
Cronos Group Inc (CRON) −0.27% Goodments Score: 42 
Abbvie (ABBV) -0.72% Goodments Score: 64 
Zynerba (ZYNE) -1.75% Goodments Score: 41
Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc (IIPR) -12.45% Goodments Score: 44

Top Trending investments on Goodments:

Vivint Solar Inc (VSLR) +3.40% Goodments Score: 51
Beyond Meat Inc (BYND) + 1.26% Goodments Score: 75  
Clean Tech Fund (PZD:US) -1.90% Goodments Score: 77  
Mastercard, Inc (MA) -0.03% Goodments Score: 67
Etho Climate Leadership ETF (ETHO) +1.71% Goodments Score: 74

Goodments App Updates

This week you’ll find three key updates; 
1) App performance. You should already be experiencing some speed improvements. A new app release will be available soon which will add even more improvements, cutting down the time it takes to load the app, update your portfolio, access company information and access your cart. 
2) Advanced Search. You can now search the app using any broader terms. Try things like company or fund name, industry, themes eg Electric Vehicles, or even preferences like “Diversity”. 
3) More Funds. More funds will soon be available, including ones designed to be more conservative in times of increased market volatility, focussing on Cash and Bonds. 

Are you struggling with the best way to pay for trades on Goodments? Check out the recent blog post which covers your options.  

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