Innovations in hemp production to solve environmental problems

II International Forum of Hemp Growers
Venue: Kurgan Regional Philharmonic, Kurgan
25 February 2019


According to the WWF Living Planet Index, the global economy is already using the resources of 1.5 planets. Humanity has long been living in debt, «occupying» all available resources on earth and depriving future generations of them. These resources are renewed much more slowly than they are consumed.
As a result, environmental and welfare issues (both social and economic) have become priorities in the development of most countries around the world, including Russia. The connection between ecology and economics has become apparent. Last year in Russia, 2018 was officially declared the Year of Ecology, there are a number of environmental organizations operating at present in the country, and the Environmental Safety Strategy (until 2025) has adopted. Among the key problems are environmental pollution and an increased amount of waste, much of which is not reused or recycled but buried in landfills that are often unauthorized. Every year, Russia dumps about 4 billion tons of industrial and consumer wastes into landfills. Almost 20% of the population (more than 17 million people) lives in cities where air pollution (including from oil refined products) is officially recognized as high or very high. Economic losses resulting from environmental degradation reach 6% of GDP, and when taking into account the damage to citizen health, this figure rises to 15%.

How do we solve these problems?
The economy should be developed with a particular emphasis on solving environmental problems. The environmental aspect is a key priority of the Scientific and Technological Development Strategy in Russia. The best available technologies should be adopted everywhere in the country, and new efficient mechanisms for measuring and using natural capital should be developed. One innovative solution that is successfully developing in different countries around the world, from Israel to Canada, is the processing and industrial use of technical (non-narcotic) hemp.
Technical hemp is a practically waste-free product that provides the raw material for the food and textile industry and is used to make medicines and biodegradable fuel. From 1 hectare of the plant, as much pulp can be made as from five hectares of forest, and it grows much faster. When integrated into the crop rotation, it contributes to the improvement of soil fertility and, consequently, crop yields.
In Russia, several projects to cultivate this plant and build factories for its processing are being announced and implemented. The most ambitious is in the Kurgan Region. 100,000 hectares of technical hemp will be planted here, which will then undergo deep processing to make nano and micro pulp, biodegradable PET containers, paper, textiles, highly durable composites, and other environmentally friendly products.
The event proposes to discuss the problems and challenges of modern hemp growing, as well as how to turn it into a universally developed mechanism for the benefit of both the environment and the economy.
The event is aimed at environmental specialists, hemp growers, representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia, relevant committees of the State Duma, Federal Specialized Agencies, Regional Development Corporations, Rusnano, public organizations, investment funds, manufacturers of agricultural and food products and cosmetics, and the media.

11.00–12.00. Registration, welcome coffee, networking.
12.00–14.00. Strategic session: «Ecology, Economy, Efficiency.»

Key topics to be discussed:
  • Changing government policies with a particular emphasis on the relationship between environmental welfare and economic efficiency; the transition from a «garbage» to a «green» economy;
  • Environmental regulation based on the principles of the best available technologies; transition to environmental quality standards;
  • Responsible business practice and environmental reporting by enterprises are key to ensuring environmental safety on a wider scale;
  • Creating safe biodegradable materials is a solution to the problem of waste and environmental pollution.
14.00–14.15. Coffee break.
14.15–16.00. Special session: «Processing Technical Hemp: Environmental and Investment Opportunities.»

Key topics to be discussed:
  • Measures to stimulate and support the development of the industry;
  • The investment potential of industrial hemp;
  • Modern international experience of hemp production: why this sector is experiencing a real boom in countries where hemp has been legalized;
  • Business cases: production of technical hemp in Russia – problematic or profitable?
  • Potential opportunities for import substitution as a result of developing hemp production.