Buying Into A Better Future: Announcing CDG's Giveback Program

CDG’s CEO: Courtney Mathis

June 1, 2024

Big Change Requires Big Evolution

It would be a pretty big understatement to say “times are a changin.” And it would be an even bigger oversight to miss out on the moments of hope taking hold between people, families and communities, in the hardest moments in-between. For us, the support of our community is what has fostered so much of CDG’s resiliency. Economic instability, industry contraction, increased focus on profits for corporate leaders, and frankly, the sentiment that “purpose” is still a nice to have rather than a need – have created – let's say, a fairly dynamic, if not tumultuous, ecosystem in which to run a social impact business. And yet, here we are. We have a lot to be proud of with 1000s of mentions in media across the nation, multiple awards year over year, speaking and training on various stages, and most of all, businesses whose entire mission has shifted to being purpose-driven – and with it – their incredible success.

And yet in the midst of so much progress – we still found ourselves wanting more. More influence, more change, more impact. And found all the possibility of that potential with us… with you… with them. The customer/consumer/shopper. Because there is one thing that just doesn't seem to change – people, you and me, still need to buy things to support our lifestyle, our children, our pets, our education, recreation, etc. Most of us, even minimalist, still need some stuff. And the power of that choice – those dollars spent – can’t be overstated enough. Because here’s the deal - people don’t just buy things - they buy into things. And that recognition unlocked a beautiful evolution for CDG. It illuminated a path for businesses to launch social impact programs with the help, stewardship and participation of their customers. It validated for us that it was time that we serve bigger, that our service become smarter and for our impact to become greater.

Creating A Path for the Purpose-Driven Customer

But we had a problem to solve. Impact was on the decline. And good-washing was on the incline. Brands and businesses were seemingly making one of three choices.

  1. Social impact and supporting purpose - were too expensive. So many businesses stopped investing in their community and people stopped being able to live in their values. Because the cost of doing Good or shopping well – were just too high.
  2. Businesses and people were going all in on their Good. Expanding community outreach efforts, promoting local nonprofits, and people began reprioritizing their budget to include more purpose-driven brands (looking at you Wana and Patagonia).
  3. And then there is everyone in the middle who just didn’t know - and many still don’t - what to do. For businesses those questions looked daunting. How to support their team, how to invest in community, how to engage their customers. For individuals – no choice feels like the right one – so you go back to the same ole’ pattern of buying what you know, with brands you can afford.

The challenge was in addressing the complexity of 1 and 3. How do we get businesses who don’t have huge social impact budgets to engage in community-centered behavior? How do we get people, who understandably feel overwhelmed, to become clear on how to use their power and their dollar for Good?

Well - we think we found a way. CDG’s Giveback Program. A newfound initiative that allows brands to use the power of their customer’s values to drive revenue and support community needs.

This is what it looks like:

➔ We partner brands or businesses with nonprofit organizations
➔ We throw our logo on their package or website
➔ And we split a small a amount of net profit from each product sold between the nonprofit and CDG.
➔ Consistent dollars to the nonprofit allow for measurable impact, a trusting relationship, and a huge opportunity to build affinity with your purpose-driven customer.
➔ Dollars to CDG allow us to market your Good, amplify your story, and create differentiation within your industry, your market, your business category.

Here’s the wins:

★ No extra big budget required on behalf of the business
★ Customers now have education from CDG on where to shop their values
★ And communities and people get the support they need to live fulfilling lives

Giveback to Impact

Our Big Hairy Audacious Goal? To shift business operations to be more people-centered, unite purpose-driven customers with their favorite brands, and play a small but meaningful role in stewarding in a new error of Stakeholder Capitalism. The focus being to create long-term value for all stakeholders (i.e. employees, customers, communities, investors) and the public at large, rather than shareholders alone. In essence, empowering people’s time and dollars by giving them a path to align their choices with their values. We believe that CDG’s Giveback Program, no matter in the industry, can create a sustainable, effective, impactful model for conscious capitalism – where everyone wins.

If you hadn’t caught on yet – our name change is a part of this huge evolution. Because while we will always serve our cannabis community, we know it’s time to step out of the green bubble and into a more global one.

Companies Doing Good will continue to consult, train, and speak on our key Pillars of Good. Now with the launch of the Giveback Program, we get to create more intentional, long-lasting partnerships – so that business growth, customer excitement, and community service become the tenants of our Stakeholder Economy and the most accessible path to Impact yet.

Want to learn more? Get in touch. We love meeting new people and deepening old relationships. We’ve got Good work to do.

Why Giving Back is Good Business

The Communications Case for Purpose Driven Brands
CDG’s CMO: Lisa Buffo
May 31, 2024

In today's competitive business landscape, companies are increasingly recognizing the value of integrating purpose and social responsibility into their core strategies. Beyond the moral imperative, giving back is proving to be a powerful tool from a communications perspective. Here’s why giving back is good business, particularly when it comes to enhancing marketing and branding efforts between your company and your customers.

Enhanced Brand Reputation

A company’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. Engaging in charitable activities and giving back to the community can significantly enhance your brand image.
According to the Zeno Strength of Purpose study, purpose-driven companies are 4.1x t more likely to be trusted by consumers (Pro Purpose). Trust is a fundamental component of a strong brand reputation, which in turn drives customer loyalty and advocacy.

Purpose-driven brands also enjoy better resilience in times of crisis. The same Zenostudy found that consumers are 6x more likely to protect a purpose-driven company in the event of a misstep or public criticism (Pro Purpose). This protective buffer can be invaluable, allowing companies to navigate challenges while maintaining customer support and goodwill.

Stronger Customer Relationships

Modern consumers are increasingly value-driven, preferring to support brands that align with their own values and contribute to societal good. This alignment fosters deeper connections and loyalty. The Cone/Porter Novelli survey revealed that 66% of consumers would switch from a product they currently buy to a new product from a purpose-driven company, with this number rising to 91% among Millennials (Pro Purpose).

Furthermore, purpose-driven companies are more likely to generate positive word-of-mouth. The same survey found that 78% of consumers would tell others to buy from a purpose-driven company (Pro Purpose). This kind of organic advocacy is incredibly powerful, as personal recommendations often carry more weight than traditional advertising.

Improved Employee Engagement and Retention

A company’s social responsibility efforts can significantly impact employee satisfaction and retention. Employees today want to work for organizations that have a clear purpose and contribute to societal well-being. This sense of purpose can lead to higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty.

According to a study by Sustainable Brands and Harris Poll, 80% of individuals say they are loyal to brands that help them live the Good Life, which includes meaningful connections and personal achievement (Pro Purpose). When employees feel that their work contributes to a greater good, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their employer.

Effective Marketing and Public Relations

From a communications standpoint, giving back provides a wealth of positive content that can be leveraged in marketing and public relations efforts. Stories about your company’s charitable activities can be shared across social media, press releases, and other marketing channels. These narratives not only enhance your brand image but also create an emotional connection with your audience.

For instance, sharing tangible impacts such as the number of children educated or communities helped can be a powerful way to engage and inspire your audience. According to the Cone/Porter Novelli survey, 68% of consumers are not likely to share content from traditional companies with their social networks, but 73% are willing to defend a brand with a purpose if it is negatively discussed (Pro Purpose).

Increased Market Differentiation

In a crowded marketplace, differentiating your brand is crucial. Companies known for their charitable efforts stand out from the competition. This differentiation is not just about being seen as generous; it’s about being perceived as a leader in social responsibility. Leadership in this area can attract customers who are looking for more than just products or services—they want to support brands that make a real difference.

The Kantar Purpose 2020 study highlights that brands with high perceived positive impact enjoy a 175% increase in brand value over 12 years, compared to 86% for medium positive impact and 70% for low positive impact (Pro Purpose). This significant growth underscores the long-term financial benefits of being a purpose-driven company.

Financial Benefits

While the primary motivation for giving back is often the desire to make a positive impact, there are also financial benefits to be gained. Charitable contributions can lead to tax deductions and other financial incentives. Moreover, the increased customer loyalty, enhanced brand reputation, and improved employee retention all contribute to a healthier bottom line.

According to research by IBM and the National Retail Federation, 70% of purpose-driven shoppers are willing to pay a 35% higher upfront cost for sustainable purchases (Pro Purpose). This willingness to pay a premium reflects the added value consumers place on purpose-driven brands.

In conclusion, giving back is not just a noble endeavor; it is a smart business strategy. By integrating social responsibility into your business model, you can enhance your brand reputation, build stronger relationships with customers and employees, and stand out in the marketplace. Moreover, the positive stories and impacts generated from your charitable efforts provide valuable content for your marketing and communications strategies, driving both profit and purpose.

For more insights and examples of how businesses are successfully integrating giving strategies, visit Jump Associates and LinkedIn’s articles on purpose-driven companies.

The Rise Of The Ethical Consumer

CDG’s Marketing Strategist: Nora Thomas-Dib
June 7, 2024
From Amazon, to TikTok shop, to *insert quick shop option here,* the landscape of consumerism is drastically changing. This has also raised some green flags around consumer behavior specifically and the importance of consciously purchasing. Statista reported that 45% of people surveyed considered themselves an ethical shopper, outweighing those saying ‘no’ and ‘unsure.’

What Does It mMean to Be An Ethical Shopper?

Being an ethical shopper means that you are consciously using your purchasing power to purchase for good. The decisions that you’re making when it comes to either purchasing locally, buying clothes, or food for example has thought behind it with the intention of making a greater impact.

In a perfect world, we would all shop ethically. We would support the planet by making better choices about our food consumption and we’d only buy clothing from brands we know are making a positive impact on our planet, but that's really hard to achieve.

What Are Ways You Can Be An Ethical Shopper?

It can be overwhelming when you begin to think about all of the ways you can change your purchasing power and I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to change all habits to begin to make a bigger impact. Consider these industries when adjusting your spending habits and when defining how you personally can make an impact.

Food and Beverage

Buying organic will support in avoiding foods that are grown with synthetic fertilizers which helps promote soil health and biodiversity. Eating plant based and cruelty free products will also reduce negative environmental impact by limiting contribution to factory farming practices.

Fashion and Apparel

Buy from eco-friendly brands that are intentional in their material choices and prioritize ethical labor practices. It’s also important to consider investing in high-quality, durable clothing for long-term use or exploring purchasing second-hand clothing. Shopping second hand is also very much so trending making clothing options very broad to appeal to all consumers—no excuses here.

Beauty and Personal Care

More and more beauty brands are prioritizing creating natural and organic products that come in eco-friendly packaging. Choose the options that are safe and non-toxic, have clear labels showcasing all ingredients, and come in sustainable packaging. There’s no reason beauty companies should be testing products on animals or using animal byproducts such as collagen or animal hair.

Electronics and Technology

Support brands that are committed to sustainable practices, such as using recycled materials and ensuring ethical supply chains. Using energy efficient devices is an active and conscious way to reduce energy output—we all have phones that never leave our side and we all charge them when we go to sleep (or even multiple times a day). Investing in an energy efficient charger is one way to drastically reduce energy consumption when you’re using your phone daily.


We have public transportation, use it. Additionally, bikes offer more benefits than just a more sustainable way to move, but also a great form of exercise while enjoying the outdoors, it’s a win-win situation.

Banking and Finance

Bank with companies who invest in socially responsible and environmentally sustainable projects.

Household Cleaning and Products

Move away from toxic cleaners by using eco-friendly cleaning products and DIY cleaning solutions. Vinegar and baking soda do the trick nine times out of ten. Additionally, focus on having reusable items in your house such as cloths, washable mop heads, and sponges—this helps immensely to reduce waste and save that money!

Energy and Utilities

At your home, there are ways you can invest in green energy such as solar panels and smart home technologies. An investment nonetheless, but these are long term investments that promote renewable energy all while drastically minimizing your expenses.

The main message here is, it’s still very possible to shop ethically without changing all of your habits or breaking the bank. That’s actually how we integrate ethical shopping into our lives by starting in one area at a time in a way that truly feels sustainable to you. Making your own cleaning products is an example of how you can start small while making a huge impact on the environment. It’s cheap, reliable, and you’re avoiding non-recyclable products and harsh chemicals.

The Impact on Businesses

The rise of the ethical shopper is having a significant impact on businesses across various industries. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of aligning their values with those of their customers. Many are adopting more sustainable practices, improving labor conditions, and becoming more transparent about their operations. This shift not only helps in building brand loyalty but also attracts a growing market segment that values ethics over convenience or price alone.

The rise of the ethical shopper is a powerful testament to the changing dynamics of consumer behavior. As more people become aware of the impact of their purchases, they are choosing to support brands that reflect their values of sustainability, equity, and transparency. These initiatives aren’t just reshaping markets but fostering a more conscious and responsible global community. By continuing to educate yourself and make informed choices, being an ethical shopper drives a positive change that benefits everyone.

When shopping ethically, you’re not just buying things, but you’re buying into things—something Companies Doing Good will help consumers prioritize over and over again to make impact extremely approachable. What are you going to buy into, next?

cannabis industry social image community involvement

5 Steps to Building Social Impact + Community Connections

cannabis industry social image community involvement

Social responsibility programs are becoming common practice nowadays among companies of all shapes and sizes. It’s more and more expected that businesses should promote charities or humanitarian goals along with their own business objectives. While the cannabis industry has a long history of supporting education about the medical uses of cannabis as well as anti-prohibition measures, social responsibility programs go far beyond that.

In some cases, companies and businesses are not only required to have a social responsibility program but they're also required to volunteer with nonprofits in order to stay compliant with state and local regulations.

What isn’t required?

Unfortunately all too often, social responsibility programs can be initiated without the actual input of local communities. This causes businesses to miss out on opportunities to engage with neighbors, establish trust, and make a long-lasting difference in the communities they serve.


We know that running a business, particularly a start-up, is a lot to handle. Add to that the unique challenges we face working in the cannabis industry--high taxes, business discrimination, and strict regulations--and it may seem that social impact is something that can wait for the future. However, establishing trust with customers and community is vital to business sustainability. If you treat your neighbors like they are incidental to your success, they will treat you with the same consideration.

Case in point, one of the oldest dispensaries in the US, Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) was targeted by the federal government in 2012 and faced the very real possibility of shutting down. BPG always had a community focus, whether it was providing patient-to-patient care, free medication and services to patients in need, or supporting local nonprofits. The community rallied to support them as they dealt with this challenge and they were able to move locations and stay open. Without this backing from the community, BPG may have not been able to survive the legal threat. Last year they celebrated their 20th anniversary and launched a “1MM for Good” initiative, in which they have pledged to donate $1 million over the next decade to nonprofits and charities.

How to start building those community connections? While it may seem daunting, really it starts small and grows from there.

1. Engage with your neighbors.

Work and connect with people on the individual level. If it’s hard to interact with neighbors casually, consider attending a neighborhood association or community district meetings. Listen to the concerns that are being discussed and how the community wants to address them. Is your business in a position to help? Even writing a letter in support of a new stop sign at a nearby intersection can open a conversation about how to be a good partner in the community.

2. Build trust.

Consider how existing social responsibility projects may impact your community. Giving away donations in a primarily Muslim neighborhood during Ramadan would seem pretty clueless and uninformed.

3. Do your research.

Much like the point above, knowing the history behind certain organizations can help or hurt your cause. For example, collecting donations in a predominately LGBTQ+ neighborhood for the Salvation Army (which has had a long history of homophobic discrimination) is not going to help you establish trusting relationships with your neighbors.

4. Ask for help.

Whenever possible, ask the local community which organizations they support or which issues concern them the most. Not only will they appreciate the questions, using their suggestions will bond them closer to your business.

kindColorado, big sister to Cannabis Doing Good, specializing in community engagement and CSR, can help too.

5. Remember the big picture.

While it’s exciting to be a part of an emerging industry, we have the burden of representation. Not only do we represent our own businesses, to some people, we may represent cannabis companies as a whole. We owe it to each other to demonstrate to our communities that we are thoughtful, responsible, and strategic.

Businesses of all sizes are reckoning with the impact that they have on the planet, our policies, and our people.

By going beyond a basic social responsibility program and really engaging with your community, your business can be a force of good that extends beyond just your valued customers out into the community and into the world. And that means that your community will be there for you beyond the basics too.

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Five Ways to Celebrate the Little Things to Drive Big Victories

Guest Contributor: Hybrid Marketing Co.

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When we talk about achievements in the workplace, we usually point to the big stuff… How it feels to hit a major milestone, breakthrough, or long-term goal. Those big “wins" are amazing and very rewarding, but they don’t happen all that often. That’s why you should consider focusing on the many small wins or minor accomplishments to drive better workplace results. It’s already commonplace outside the work environment. Sports is a great example.

When you watch a football game, nearly every single play is celebrated by one team or the other. It could be an incredible catch, a big run, a sack or a crucial tackle. Or, of course, a sportscenter-worthy touchdown dance. The point is that the players don’t just celebrate the win at the end, the celebrate every play as they make progress on their way to their bigger goal. It helps motivate the team and gets everyone else around them more invested in the game and focused on continued performance.

In the workplace, studies have shown that employees are more engaged and happier when achievements are celebrated, so it makes sense to celebrate more often and more robustly. More engaged and happier employees lead to further achievements and celebrations; it’s an upward spiral that feeds itself in the best possible way! And the celebrations can be small, easy, and cheap, and still give you the results you’re after. Here’s five different ways you can celebrate the small stuff in the workplace.

Public Acknowledgement

Statements of acknowledgment in public ways are an extremely powerful thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to write a press release about every minor victory, but a simple “Heads up everyone- Aaron just finished another chapter in the new Introduction to Concentrates guide, give him a high-five when you see him!” can do the trick. To try and institutionalize the process of recognition within your team consider setting up a channel specifically for this purpose. It’ll prompt others to join in as well. Receiving praise from a superior is a great feeling, but in some ways, having your colleagues and teammates recognize your achievements can be even better.

High Fives

The first written accounts of the high five date from the early 1980s, and it’s been ingrained in our culture ever since. The high five is a powerful thing! It’s free, quick, and motivational. Give good high fives often and enthusiastically. The top dog at our office, Greg, walks around giving hugs constantly. That might not be a cultural fit for some workplaces, but it’s the same principal and provides the same results as a high five.

Snacks & Coffee

Never, ever underestimate the power of coffee. If you pair it with a snack of some kinds (donuts, obviously), then you can supercharge the mini-party. It’s low-cost, always appreciated, and works even better if it’s not expected.

Team Field Trip

Getting out of the office as a group is always great for team-building, even if there’s no specific achievement to celebrate. Dinners, lunches, and drinks are fun, but it never hurts to think outside the box. Consider breakfast bowling, an escape room, axe throwing, or going to a daytime sporting event. Want to keep the budget a little tighter? Pot-luck or barbecue in a park will do the trick.

Charitable Giving

We’re all about CSR (which is why we support the amazing mission of Cannabis Doing Good), and small charitable donations are a great way to mark minor achievements or benchmarks. Try using a reverse-swear jar concept. Set a goal, maybe it's a $500 donation to a charity everybody can get behind. When somebody in your office hits a milestone on a project or does something positive, drop a donation in the jar to mark the occasion. They’ll not only feel good about the public acknowledgement, but also that their efforts mark progress towards helping a good cause outside of the workplace.

A note to leadership: we recognize how easy it is to get swept up in the day-to-day workplace operations and let recognition of your team’s achievements fall through the cracks. To take the pressure off, set up a recurring task or calendar reminder for lunchtime on Fridays. If you hit that point and haven’t done anything over the week to celebrate a small success, it’ll be a reminder that you’ll know you need to make it happen before the end of the day. And if the management still feels overwhelming, check out KyndHub, a platform that has gamified kindness. No act is too small to create big victories. Now go give a high five or simply say thank you!

Hybrid Marketing Co is a cannabis marketing agency based in Denver. Get in touch or learn more at

sustainable cannabis environmental justice

Sustainability IS Environmental Justice

sustainable cannabis environmental justice

Although it’s true that the health of the entire planet is threatened by climate change - the added strain of colonialism, exploitation, and discrimination has made historically disenfranchised--communities of color--that much more vulnerable to its potentially catastrophic effects. Twenty years after racial bias was found in the locations of toxic waste dumps in the United States, sadly, little has improved.

It doesn’t take too long to find more unfortunate examples. Recent studies have shown that African American, Latinx, and low-income children are more likely to be exposed to air pollution in their public schools. Puerto Rico is still struggling with destruction wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria as well as political and economic neglect. Even the crisis in Syria has been linked to water shortages on our warming planet.

Making Sustainable Choices

As an industry, cannabis can not only limit our negative impact, but also mediate ongoing injustices. Because the effects of climate change overwhelmingly affect low-income communities and communities of color, choosing sustainable business practices has substantial environmental and equitable social impact. Using an environmental justice framework in our business allows us to go beyond asking “what” and also ask “who” – Who is impacted? Who benefits? Who will live with the consequences of our actions in the long-term?

Starting Locally: Environmental Justice & Community Responsibility

For instance, we want to conserve water and electricity for environmental and business efficiency. Environmental justice asks us to also think about how our use of resources affects other people in the community. Can the local power grid handle our usage along with its regular load? If there is a crisis, like a drought or a brown-out, how do we balance our business needs with the human needs of the community? Proactively engaging with the surrounding residents empowers them to communicate their needs and allows us to create solutions together.

Therefore, whether we are in growing, manufacturing, or distributing, cannabis companies have the duty to use resources effectively, manage waste responsibly, and determine the impact that our businesses have on our communities. Don’t know where to start? Consider hosting a community forum to hear the concerns of your neighbors and to understand what needs are challenging them most. Then, follow-up with opportunities to co-create a solution.

Using Environmentally-Friendly Packaging

Supply chain and packaging matter too. For example, environmentally-friendly packaging is a real concern for products in all markets. In Canada’s first year of legalization, it is estimated that the industry contributed 10,000 tons of packaging waste, mostly plastic.

However, there are companies out there with their minds on sustainability. Cannabis Doing Good 2019 Award Winner, Sana Packaging, sources reclaimed ocean plastic for their cannabis packaging as well as using hemp plastic, which has a smaller carbon footprint. Using recycled materials – and making reusing and recycling more convenient for consumers – can make a significant impact on the pollutants that we put into the air, water, and landfills.

Giving consumers more options regarding the disposal of packaging can cut down on cannabis-related litter around retail locations and also related nuisance complaints that weaken our relationships with neighbors. Lightshade, another Cannabis Doing Good 2019 Award Winner, offers recycling programs at each of their retail locations. Wana has new sustainable biodegradable product storage, and Terrapin Care Station has won awards for eco-friendly packaging, one of the most important aspects of the supply chain in implementing environmentally responsible practices at the production/retail levels.

Facing Climate Change Together

With an issue as crucial as climate change, no single company is going to be able to make a significant impact entirely on its own. So, be sure to talk to your supply chain partners about how they are addressing social and environmental challenges. Are they aware of how their waste is being managed and who is affected by it? How do they minimize the use of pesticides? Are there ways that you can work together to reduce pollutants? Just as consumers have told us that they are interested in environmentally sustainable products, we can tell our fellow business partners also value the environment and our community.

As an emerging market with substantial growth opportunities, the cannabis industry can model how environmental justice can be a guiding principle in corporate social responsibility work. The stakes have never been higher and the potential has never been greater! Together, we can work with affected communities to reverse the impact of climate change and the global legacy of injustice.

Has your business developed a sustainability program that promotes environmental justice? Are you interested in doing more to support equity? Contact us today!

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Cannabis and Corporate Social Responsibility: Support Your Community, Do Good, and Impact the Conversation

Guest Contributor: Hybrid Marketing Co.
corporate social responsibility blog

Change hearts and minds.

As support for legal cannabis grows and the legalized markets continue to develop, many communities have come to understand the value of our favorite plant and appreciate the tax dollars that are funneled back into areas and programs that need a revenue boost. Nevertheless, the stigma persists! But the more often community members see cannabis companies and employees volunteering and improving our city, the quicker that stigma will melt away.

Give your business it's why.

Entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry have a variety of reasons for starting cannabis companies. Of course, at some level we are all motivated by profit. After all, it IS a business!

But consider how a healthy CSR program can give your business a why that transcends profit. Other than making money, why does your business exist? What kind of benefit do you or can you provide the community? Sometimes these questions can be difficult to answer, but a CSR program can give clarity to both you AND your employees.

Appeal to a younger demographic.

Did you know that millennials control around $200 billion in buying power? If you don’t recognize the importance of that statistic, consider that millennials are 73% more likely to purchase a product that benefits the environment or society in general, (when given the opportunity). Regardless of the lazy millennial stereotype, young people care and they vote with their money. They want to support ethical businesses. They will be more likely to buy from you, but they’ll also feel better about doing it, even if that means they spent more than they would have with one of your competitors.

Make your employees happy!

Data backs it up: employees are happier and feel more fulfilled in the workplace when they know their company has a purpose beyond profit. And happy employees work harder, are proud of their work, and stick around longer. (Wouldn’t it be nice to have some more stability in your staff, especially in the traditionally high-turnover positions?) Fulfilled employees will also be evangelists for your business and encourage family, friends, and even strangers to patronize your dispensary or try your products.

Differentiate yourself from the competition.

How do you make your business stand out when you and your competitors sell similar (or the same) products at comparable pricing? A healthy CSR program will give consumers another reason to purchase products from you rather than your competition (like we mentioned, it’s your why!) It’s an excellent tool your cannabis business can use to stand out from the pack.

Doing good is the right thing to do!

Our industry is still young, and those of us currently involved are defining it as we go. It's up to us to make sure the cannabis industry is a force for good! And ultimately, authenticity is the only way to make that work. We should all be doing it because it's the right thing to do - it’s that simple!

Hybrid Marketing Co is a cannabis marketing agency based in Denver. Get in touch or learn more at

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The Business Case for Sustainability

Guest Contributor Jake Mitchell, President and Founder of Sustainabissustainabis sustainable cannabis

What is Sustainablity?

We all know protecting the environment is a good thing to do, we all know that it is an important thing to do. So why does it so often get overlooked when making business decisions? Many believe it is simply a matter of perspective, which is why the term Sustainability became more popular in recent years than environmentalism. Sustainability is the application of environmental ideals applied and a realistic in practical sense. By its definition, sustainability means: “the greatest amount of resources, for the greatest amount of people, for the longest time possible.”

Although a short definition, the term means so much more. It means thinking in a cyclical fashion, it means building systems which allow us to work in tandem with the environment, it means social equity and justice, and as we will discuss in this article it means economic prosperity. The business case for sustainability shows that not only is it a good societal cause but also a good one for business success and longevity.

Why Businesses Should Care: The Facts

Companies built on a passion for sustainability reduce the need for resources and associated costs and positions themselves in a class of companies that on average outperforms their less sustainable competitors. "High Sustainability" companies catalogued on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index have an average of 4.8% higher returns on assets and equity than their peers.

University of Oxford and Arabesque reviewed the academic studies on sustainability and corporate performance and found that 90% of 200 studies conclude that good Environmental and Social (ES) standards lower the cost of capital; 88% show that good ES practices result in better operational performance; and 80% show that stock price performance is positively correlated with good sustainability practices. Sustainable companies also have improved risk management and as McKinsey reports that value compromised by sustainability concerns may be as high as 70% of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. These risks are particularly important to cannabis as an agricultural product because environmental risks take precedence due to their systematic effect on growing and resource related usage (increased HVAC and humidity requirements, increased water demand, and increased energy costs).

Businesses with robust sustainability programs increase employee morale by an average 55% over less sustainable peers and increased employee loyalty by 37% according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Companies that developed environmental standards have seen a 16% increase in productivity.

A company with sustainability integrated into their strategic plan is better positioned to create a dialogue with stakeholders and therefore be more consistently able to anticipate and react to social, environmental, economic, and regulatory changes as they arise. Having a robust sustainability integration in a companies strategy also opens opportunities for long term investment returns and compound savings over time. Something extremely important in the cannabis industry with such sporadic and rapidly changing regulations.

All of these potential benefits from sustainability depend on the base of any company: the customer. Proper marketing of a company’s "story" and "method" is a crucial element in developing a dedicated customer base. 82% of customers in emerging markets believe that they “have a responsibility to purchase products that are good for the environment and society”. Since cannabis is an emerging market this holds especially strong for our industry.

One of the largest examples of this success in marketing is Patagonia and their strategy to "walk the walk" when it comes to sustainable practices and social responsibility. Despite a somewhat alternative approach to business, Patagonia's revenue has continued to increase from $380 million in 2011 to a staggering $750 million in 2017. This is due to a consumer base with loyalty and admiration for a brand.

So next time you consider pitching a sustainable idea to your manager or make a decision to move your company in a more sustainable direction remember, you are not just doing it for the environment but for the business as well. If cannabis can begin doing this now, we can cement this industry as not only a revolutionary one but also as a sustainable one.

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CDG: The Why and The How

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Doing Good: The Definition

There isn’t a platform for cannabis companies doing good to tell their story or be recognized for the impact their making. Or for companies who aspire to do good, to see examples of what it could look like. Our version of good aims to capture all the ways the cannabis sector is driving positive political, social and economic impact. Provide 1 million meals to your local community? Educate on the real risks and benefits of medical cannabis? You champion workers rights? You hire equitably? All Cannabis Doing Good. We haven’t even scratched the surface of the good this industry is creating. BUT, we need your help.

Why It Matters: The Opportunity

In just a short time, CDG has amassed an incredible amount of social capital. This is in large part due to the network and authenticity of its founders, kindColorado and PufCreativ. Two agencies, dedicated to building community relationships, pioneering social responsibility and creating robust storytelling throughout the digital world. How do we use our social capital? We leverage our relationships with city leaders, business owners, license holders, patients, nonprofit executives and community advocates to create a network of engaged thought-leaders, with the goal of sharing meaningful stories about the cannabis industry and creating neutral access for those interested in the cannabis space.

Partnering with CDG gives you immediate access to our network, 30 years in the making, and to the trust we’ve built within every corner of our community. Relationship, trust and tangible impact are the currency of the cannabis sector. Partner with us and multiply your goodwill among consumers and the community.

Cannabis Doing Good: The Mission

Cannabis doing good is a platform to create opportunities for cannabis and communities to collaborate, to inspire new ways of people, planet and business engagement, and to showcase companies doing good. With you, we can do do this several ways -

  • • Online digital campaign aimed at capturing individuals and businesses’ stories of doing good. We will be dismantling Drug War propaganda, one story, one video, at a time. Have a good story to tell - share with it us! (link to instructions).
  • • Cannabis Doing Good Socials that bring communities and cannabis together. Every CDG Social our network and our list, expands, our definition of good evolves and the charity we’ve partnered with gets more support for the good they do. You can sponsor a social or just attend and enjoy the good time. Our next one is coming up in February - sign-up for our email list and get the exclusive invite! (link to website)
  • • Cannabis Doing Good Awards. There isn’t a platform for companies doing good to tell their story or be recognized for the impact their making. Or for companies who aspire to do good, to see examples of what it could look like. So, we’ve created the Cannabis Doing Good Awards to be launched this upcoming fall at a large-scale cannabis industry charity Gala (co-hosted by us, of course). Stay tuned for details.
  • • “Powered by” Cannabis Doing Good events and programs. These are opportunities for brands, initiatives, films or agencies to access our network and leverage our social capital for the benefit of growing support and earning trust for their own mission, cause or project. You get access to our community and industry lists, a platform using your event to support a local charity, and digital promotion on our all our socials. Want your next event to be “powered by CDG”? Email us and let’s get the conversation going.

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The Goodness Report - Dec. 2018

We did it! We survived Vegas and then some. First, we launched our video. A video highlighting so many of your stories, the good you are championing and the good you seek to create. (link to old video on website).

Some of our founders, Courtney, Kelly and John had the amazing opportunity to record a podcast - live - on the MJBiz floor. One of the most heartfelt conversations we shared all week. Seriously, tears were shed, the really good kind. (picture of us podcasting)

MJBiz’s Industry Giveback program included us in their shout-outs on MjBiz TV and their Thanksgiving Facebook posts (link to to both).

AND - our co-founder, Courtney, had the opportunity to talk about all things social responsibility on a panel she moderated with other brilliant minds Shannon Brooks of Lightshade, Michael Ray of Bloom Farms and Ari Sherman of Evo Hemp.

Storytelling Part 2

We know you want more amazing stories, so we have a surprise. We have a second video. More soul-bearing, world-changing good.

But we want to hear more. Help us out, record your own story, tag on socials and spread the word. See instructions below and don’t delay! Let’s turn this spark into a glow - a nation-wide, international, sunglass-worthy glow.

Coming Up

Sensi’s Community Responsibility Event: Cannabis Doing Good

We are proud to be Presenting Sponsors for this event, which will discuss the importance of community and corporate responsibility from a local and national perspective. Join us December 6th from 5pm-7pm at Cultivated Synergy to learn more from top organizations spearheading these efforts and how you can get involved.

Cannabis Doing Good Social

February is our next CDG Social and we’ll be raising support for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Our focus is to talk about sexual health, autonomy and education. We are looking for partners for this Social - so please reach out if you are interested.

Night of Awareness

Save the Date, March 20th, 2018, for CDG's A Night of Awareness to benefit the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, for the second year. It will be a great night of music, food, and community.

CDG Network

Save the Date, March 20th, 2018, for CDG's A Night of Awareness to benefit the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, for the second year. It will be a great night of music, food, and community.