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Premium Cannabis: The Next Big Wave

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The following content is sponsored by Next Green Wave.

Premium Cannabis: The Next Big Wave

Loosening cannabis laws have resulted in the rapid influx of new products across North America. Substantial growth in the Californian market—valued at $5.1 billion—has led to changing consumer needs, including the need for more premium products and experiences.

Today’s infographic from Next Green Wave explores the demand for these premium experiences and the implications for the future of the cannabis industry.

Premium Cannabis: The Next Big Wave

Modern day cannabis consumers are empowered by information and are willing to invest in a better cannabis experience.

As cannabis evolves from being a novelty to part of a healthier lifestyle, premium products are becoming more prevalent. Consumers are looking for three things: variety of choices, better quality, and to be part of something bigger than themselves.

1. Choices, Choices

The majority of cannabis in the U.S. is currently being smoked as whole flower—but new products like edibles and vapor pens are quickly gaining ground. These products address long-standing concerns with traditional formats, which include:

  • Indiscreetness of smoking
  • Difficult to use
  • Inaccurate dosing
  • Safety hazard
    • According to Headset, female shoppers prefer edibles and tinctures, whereas men buy significantly more concentrates.

      While millennial women rely on these formats primarily for wellness, baby boomers look to cannabidiol (CBD) for pain management and other health issues.

      2. Quality is Key

      The journey to a premium, quality product starts with the seed. Cultivation in a controlled environment—where careful attention is paid to every stage of the process—is paramount.

      Indoor cultivation is an example of a controlled environment, and benefits to this practice include:

      • Complete Control
        Ability to control climate and air circulation
      • Increased Productivity
        Consistent production all year round
      • Hygienic Environment
        Reduced risk of micro-bacteria and pests
      • Standardized Product
        Especially important for medical grade cannabis
        • 3. The Need to Belong

          Consumers are looking to satiate their need to belong to a community, and cannabis is providing a wealth of opportunities to do so. Different cannabis formats are used to enhance socializing, with many millennials replacing alcohol with cannabis products entirely. Companies are taking advantage of this mindset by hosting unique cannabis events and pop-up experiences.

          As more people veer towards making cannabis central to their lifestyle, more use cases appear. Using CBD for pets or as a pre-workout boost are other ways products have been seamlessly incorporated into everyday life. Brands who capitalize on these cannabis communities by providing memorable and premium experiences will come out on top.

          About Next Green Wave

          Next Green Wave cultivates premium cannabis products in California. With 25 years of industry experience, Next Green Wave prides itself on their completely integrated operations, covering the entire seed-to-sale process. They are committed to becoming the #1 premium consumer packaged goods brand in California.

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An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes

With an extensive suite of ESG indexes on offer, MSCI aims to support investors as they build a more personalized and resilient portfolio.

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An Introduction to MSCI ESG Indexes

There are various portfolio objectives within the realm of sustainable investing.

For example, some investors may want to build a portfolio that reflects their personal values. Others may see environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria as a tool for improving long-term returns, or as a way to create positive impact. A combination of all three of these motivations is also possible.

To support investors as they embark on their sustainable journey, our sponsor, MSCI, offers over 1,500 purpose-built ESG indexes. In this infographic, we’ll take a holistic view at what these indexes are designed to achieve.

An Extensive Suite of ESG & Climate Indexes

Below, we’ll summarize the four overarching objectives that MSCI’s ESG & climate indexes are designed to support.

Objective 1: Integrate a broad set of ESG issues

Investors with this objective believe that incorporating ESG criteria can improve their long-term risk-adjusted returns.

The MSCI ESG Leaders indexes are designed to support these investors by targeting companies that have the highest ESG-rated performance from each sector of the parent index.

For those who do not wish to deviate from the parent index, the MSCI ESG Universal indexes may be better suited. This family of indexes will adjust weights according to ESG performance to maintain the broadest possible universe.

Objective 2: Generate social or environmental benefits

A common challenge that impact investors face is measuring their non-financial results.

Consider an asset owner who wishes to support gender diversity through their portfolios. In order to gauge their success, they would need to regularly filter the entire investment universe for updates regarding corporate diversity and related initiatives.

In this scenario, linking their portfolios to an MSCI Women’s Leadership Index would negate much of this groundwork. Relative to a parent index, these indexes aim to include companies which lead their respective countries in terms of female representation.

Objective 3: Exclude controversial activities

Many institutional investors have mandates that require them to avoid certain sectors or industries. For example, approximately $14.6 trillion in institutional capital is in the process of divesting from fossil fuels.

To support these efforts, MSCI offers indexes that either:

  • Exclude individual sectors such as fossil fuels, tobacco, or weapons;
  • Exclude companies from a combination of these sectors; or
  • Exclude companies that are not compatible with certain religious values.

Objective 4: Identify climate risks and opportunities

Climate change poses a number of wide-reaching risks and opportunities for investors, making it difficult to tailor a portfolio accordingly.

With MSCI’s climate indexes, asset owners gain the tools they need to build a more resilient portfolio. The MSCI Climate Change indexes, for example, reduce exposure to stranded assets, increase exposure to solution providers, and target a minimum 30% reduction in emissions.

An Index for Every Objective

Regardless of your motivation for pursuing sustainable investment, the need for an appropriate benchmark is something that everyone shares.

With an extensive suite of ESG indexes designed specifically for sustainability and climate change, MSCI aims to support asset owners as they build a more unique and personalized portfolio.

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Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card

This graphic acts as an ESG report card that tracks the ESG metrics reported by different utilities in the U.S.—what gets left out?

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NPUC Utilities ESG Report Card Share

Tracked: The U.S. Utilities ESG Report Card

As emissions reductions and sustainable practices become more important for electrical utilities, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is coming under increased scrutiny.

Once seen as optional by most companies, ESG reports and sustainability plans have become commonplace in the power industry. In addition to reporting what’s needed by regulatory state laws, many utilities utilize reporting frameworks like the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) ESG Initiative or the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

But inconsistent regulations, mixed definitions, and perceived importance levels have led some utilities to report significantly more environmental metrics than others.

How do U.S. utilities’ ESG reports stack up? This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council tracks the ESG metrics reported by 50 different U.S. based investor-owned utilities (IOUs).

What’s Consistent Across ESG Reports

To complete the assessment of U.S. utilities, ESG reports, sustainability plans, and company websites were examined. A metric was considered tracked if it had concrete numbers provided, so vague wording or non-detailed projections weren’t included.

Of the 50 IOU parent companies analyzed, 46 have headquarters in the U.S. while four are foreign-owned, but all are regulated by the states in which they operate.

For a few of the most agreed-upon and regulated measures, U.S. utilities tracked them almost across the board. These included direct scope 1 emissions from generated electricity, the utility’s current fuel mix, and water and waste treatment.

Another commonly reported metric was scope 2 emissions, which include electricity emissions purchased by the utility companies for company consumption. However, a majority of the reporting utilities labeled all purchased electricity emissions as scope 2, even though purchased electricity for downstream consumers are traditionally considered scope 3 or value-chain emissions:

  • Scope 1: Direct (owned) emissions.
  • Scope 2: Indirect electricity emissions from internal electricity consumption. Includes purchased power for internal company usage (heat, electrical).
  • Scope 3: Indirect value-chain emissions, including purchased goods/services (including electricity for non-internal use), business travel, and waste.

ESG Inconsistencies, Confusion, and Unimportance

Even putting aside mixed definitions and labeling, there were many inconsistencies and question marks arising from utility ESG reports.

For example, some utilities reported scope 3 emissions as business travel only, without including other value chain emissions. Others included future energy mixes that weren’t separated by fuel and instead grouped into “renewable” and “non-renewable.”

The biggest discrepancies, however, were between what each utility is required to report, as well as what they choose to. That means that metrics like internal energy consumption didn’t need to be reported by the vast majority.

Likewise, some companies didn’t need to report waste generation or emissions because of “minimal hazardous waste generation” that fell under a certain threshold. Other metrics like internal vehicle electrification were only checked if the company decided to make a detailed commitment and unveil its plans.

As pressure for the electricity sector to decarbonize continues to increase at the federal level, however, many of these inconsistencies are roadblocks to clear and direct measurements and reduction strategies.

National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource for all things decarbonization in the utilities industry. Learn more.

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