YEARS IN REGION
We implemented several efficiencies to reduce our energy consumption. By using computer controls, specific currencies and carefully planning out the design of the electrical system, we were able to significantly decrease our electricity consumption.
We use lights from a manufacturer in the EU that have been in commercial agricultural use for many years. They are HPS lights so you are limited to energy efficiency. However, we do maximize the efficiencies that do exist. We have efficiencies built into our AC units and we reclaim through dehumidification between 25% and 35% of our water from these units for watering our plants. We have converted all MH lights in the warehouse (non-grow rooms) to LEDs and put all LEDs and flourescents in the office, bathrooms, warehouse and packaging area on occupancy sensors.
Also, when considering energy consumption and comparing indoor to outdoor, the outdoor growers usually skip over the fact that they are sending drivers daily hundreds of miles across the state to get their samples, meetings and products to stores that are predominately in King County and Spokane County. We do a majority of our business within a 12 mile radius and we intentionally made this decision when planning our grow and analyzing our carbon footprint.
Editor’s Note: Companies are scored on energy within their own categories (indoor vs. indoor, etc.), using whole systems analytics scoring methodology, including kWh/gram metric.
$15 is our entry wage for all workers, and $17 is our average for gardening employees, and $16 is the average for processing employees.
We do not currently offer health care benefits. However, we have been in the market for less than 12 weeks and it is a priority to offer this to all employees from packagers and gardeners to management.
We do not have a written protocol for parental and sick leave and compensation yet, but we plan on having a progressive approach to these issues and incorporating them as we grow.
We are in the process of writing our company policies and procedures but will incorporate our stance of zero tolerances to harassment of any kind based off race, gender, and/or sexual orientation.
We are in a heavy industrial sector of Renton, WA. We know our neighbors well and educate them on our facility and reach out to them often. We are involved with The Emerald City Pet Rescue based in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle. They rescue dogs, cats, horses etc. They are involved with animal welfare activism from pets to lions. We have decided to give a portion of our gross revenue to this and other organizations we will be working with. We also have been active in volunteering and are incorporating this into our company more and more as we grow.
We are going to include in our business resolutions the designation of an SPC or Social Purpose Corporation. This charter allows companies in the State of Washington to pursue non-fiduciary responsibilities in their companies by engaging in social and environmental pursuits that cannot be challenged by shareholders or members. If our company decides to give “X” amount of profits to a social cause and it does not create monetary value for the company, we cannot be legally bound to just create financial returns for our company as all S and C Corps are required by law. This is very similar to the B Corp designation that other states have adopted and the SPC is fairly new to Washington.
We have an unofficial policy of helping out any 502 licensees with their startup and navigation of the processes, as we were assisted by others who had started their businesses prior to us. We have decided to share with any cannabis company our packaging sourcing, organic pesticide use and bio controls we use in the gardens. We would also like to push the cannabis “industry” in WA to be more active in causes that are important to them and their communities.
We use compostable/recycled packaging for our cannabis flower. This includes a plant starch based site window and vegetable inks for printing. We also use biodegradable sugar cane labels and stickers. Currently, we still use a small plastic bag to put our cannabis flower into before it goes into our box. We have tried biodegradable “plastics” but have not found one that can keep our product fresh for more than 3 weeks. We will continue to search for a product that we feel comfortable putting cannabis into and remaining fresh for several weeks or months.
We have an active recycling program for paper, cardboard, demolition material (copper wire, conduit, building material, pallets, etc., nutrient containers, light bulbs, batteries, food waste and all other material coming from our warehouse.
We are limited by the LCB what we can do to “destroyed” plant material. But we do have all of our soil picked up by a local landscaper to reuse in gardens.
We have efficiencies built into our AC units and we reclaim through dehumidification between 25% and 35% of our water from these units for watering our plants.
I’m not sure too many grower’s are profiting (real profits) from cannabis growing yet…but we are very aware of the discrepancy and irony of the way Washington State set up a system that highly favorites people who have access to banking, credit, investors, capital and come from predominately white backgrounds. I do not know the solution to this but it probably should have been reviewed prior to initiative 502 and we would support as a company retroactively going back to address this issue as an industry.
All of our current “pesticides” are OMRI certified organic and we have a pest management system that incorporates biological controls i.e…predatory insects and organisms that can control all pest known to the cannabis garden. Our controlled environment inside our rooms negates the chances of mold, mildew and other garden pests.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Our strict use of only organic pesticides and bio controls makes our products the healthiest and safest for recreational and medical patients alike.
Additionally, we are conscious about how the cannabis is handled to reduce bacteria and foreign materials from being included in the products. We also carefully vet the companies we use for processing “other” products like oil and food grade cannabis oils. We try to find businesses that align with our ethos or if the alignment is not a perfect match, we at least educate them and push them to be more conscious about their choices.
At this time, we I don’t believe our company will be involved with the new medical cannabis side of the industry, as the “rules” are not going to help patients, as they were not intended to help people gain access to medicine or give them a cost effective alternative. I would support a new WA State initiative to give back patients the right to realistically grow their own medicine from home or a non-LCB regulated cooperative grow. There were few problems with the old system and I believe the two can co-exist.
Soulshine is our first company with Special Purpose Corporation designation, which is impressive in and of itself. Their thoughtfulness and commitment to sustainability is evident in many areas; particularly for their growing class. We also love their willingness to share their packaging sourcing, organic pesticides/ bio control use with other companies, and we hope other companies take the offer, and follow their lead. Bravo, Soulshine!