Hemp for a Sustainable Future

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Driol, Nicolas
Costa, Marcos
Moolman, Jeremy
Elmetashvili, Giorgi
Lalor, Conor
Issue Date
Dublin Business School
The consistent rhetoric that there is nothing that humans can do to save our climate is a misunderstood myth. With legislation changing on all three levels of government – locally, nationally and internationally in the form of “Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2020”, the “European Green Deal” and the “Paris Agreement” respectively, that points to a vision that business practices and processes need to adapt to a more circular economy. With the use of secondary research, we analysed the construction industry’s impact on our environment, what hemp is capable of doing for the environment and lastly the feasibility of investing in the hemp construction industry. The construction industry adds many pollutants to the environment, not just in the form of carbon emissions. In Ireland, there is an increase of construction demand (creating a larger effect on the environment than previously) due to the housing crisis. The legal status is shifting towards a carbon neutral world therefore it would affect the way the construction industry meets the demand for housing. Hempcrete as an alternative construction material to concrete, is seen as the healthier option for the construction industry. One that is sorely needed and one that can help with the effects of the climate and potentially repair our past environmental mistakes. Hempcrete is a mixture of lime binder, hemp hurd and water. Hempcrete can be casted into bricks and sold or can be mixed onsite and used to pour into the mould of the desired building. Having their own benefits, secondary research revealed that hemp - from the moment it's planted - starts to create a better environment and even after 300 years of Hempcrete standing buildings they keep absorbing the CO2 in the environment. The hemp industry is growing in size as hemp legislation is changing. There is demand for socially responsible products. While most companies that are producing hemp products now are still small and don’t have a strong position in the market, it holds great potential to make a difference in the construction industry and at the same time create a green circular economy that works to improve our environment rather than to destroy it. Ireland's climate is appropriate for the growth of industrial hemp which represents an opportunity of becoming a major international supplier. Leading to Ireland having a larger role to play internationally with its efforts for a greener circular-economy as Ireland's impact on the western culture is seen as one of the greatest strengths it holds (as irish holidays and folklore are celebrated around the world). This is a great advantage while marketing a product of such importance. Therefore the literature review partly focuses on the feasibility of creating a company that will specialise in all things hemp, starting with the Construction Industry as it has the biggest effect on the degradation of our environment. Hempcore, the business proposal at the end of the literature review, is the logical next step in creating a circular economy that is focused on fixing the environment. Using ancient materials mixed with modern technology, Hempcore will aim to gain competitive advantage to influence the construction industry in a more responsible way.