Building Roads While Building Bridges with One World Pharma in Popayan Colombia
One World Pharmacy is leading the cannabis industry’s social equity and sustainability movements via an exclusive partnership with indigenous people of the Popayan Colombia.
An important movement has emerged in the global industrialized hemp market. One that is inclusive of indigenous communities and values social equity and sustainability as components building better businesses.
Climate change summits, social justice movements across the country, the Green New Deal. All these things point to a rapidly changing world where consumers are demanding goods and services that make them feel good knowing their choices are having a positive impact on the environment and the people who are affected by giant companies taking root in small communities.
The Industry is Watching One World Pharma
In an unregulated market it is up to companies to make the right decisions regarding ethical business practices. One World Pharma is shattering the traditional model many other companies use that focus solely on satisfying shareholders at any cost and putting people indigenous communities first. In fact, the tribal communities of Colombia are more than a concern to OWP; they are partners.
One World Pharma signed an exclusive partnership with the indigenous Misak community that ensures OWP is a Certified Fair Trade company. This means from seed to sale, the Misak people are benefiting from the growth of OWP at every step.
Lilianna Pechene, Director of Indigenous Relations of the Misak people in Popaya, negotiated with the Colombian government to allow her tribe to grow and cultivate marijuana in order to make this happen.
“I was inspired by the idea of collective conscience. In today’s world, the modern system has turned us into materialistic and individualistic beings,” Pechene said. “That is why my struggle is to rebuild this idea globally and in my community.”
Pechene won the Columbian Leadership Award in 2018 for her work directly within her community, and in 2019 was a recipient of the Elenor Ostrom Award for her work securing indigenous rights under Colombian law and her advocacy work around the world.
How Does Fair Trade Hemp Work?
To make it work, One World Pharma provides the Misaks the seeds needed to grow a hemp harvest large enough to support 44% of the global industrial hemp demand. In turn, the Misaks grow the crop, work the fields and harvest the plants when the time is right. Then, OWP buys the harvested crop for production of hemp based goods. When the company profits, so do the Misaks who are also shareholders.
In addition to growing hemp with indigenous communities in mind, OWP is also using locally sourced ethanol for extraction of cannabinoids from the hemp. Ethanol is safer and more environmentally friendly to use than other solvents used in different extraction methods.
One World Pharma is Changing the Way We Look at Hemp
This method of Fair Trade operation lets companies like One World Pharma provide the highly demanded hemp products consumers crave while also helping small indigenous tribes like the Misaks build the infrastructure it needs to sustain a viable economy.
Even more, OWP is seeking to replace traditional petroleum based plastics with hemp packaging. Since hemp can literally replace plastic and is non-toxic, biodegradable, and highly renewable, it is a safer and more cost effect method of making petroleum based plastics that don’t break down for 1000 years and have been linked to cancers and infertility.
This is an incredibly significant detraction from traditional business models where large companies put profits over the lives of people who are often deeply negatively affected by overdevelopment of their lands and an unregulated market and with little concern for the environment or consumer safety.
What is Greenwashing?
The term greenwashing has been coined to describe the deceptive business practices of companies that take advantage of consumers’ desire for eco-friendly and socially conscious products. With no laws to tell them otherwise, companies are free to blatantly lie on their labeling or regarding their methods of growing and processing, even what ingredients you may actually be consuming.
The only way to make sure products are what companies say they are, is to rely on companies to be ethical and transparent with their business model and use understandable labeling of their products that indicate testing by a third party lab. If the product you want to buy doesn’t say where they got what ingredients they’re using on the label, don’t buy it. Further, look at the company’s website. Do they even have one? If not you can safely guess they are not Fair Trade or organic as they may claim.
Why Does Social Equity and Sustainability Matter?
For centuries, black and indigenous people of color have suffered from the effects of colonization and an unfair judicial system. In order to right the wrongs of the past, companies that would otherwise not succeed without the land or labor of these communities, need to be inclusive of historically oppressed people and incorporate environmentally responsible practices as OWP has done.
If the largest industrial hemp supplier on the planet is doing it, this means every other manufacturer of hemp goods will soon follow similar steps. If they know what’s good for them, and the rest of the world.