As the looming climate crisis becomes an ever-growing concern, companies around the globe are making more of an effort to help. In the world of sustainable medicinal cannabis, Khiron is at the forefront of this crusade.
Khiron is a patient-oriented cannabis brand that relies on education, product innovation, agricultural infrastructure, and scientific expertise. Based in Latin America and founded in 2017 by CEO Alvaro Torres with other entrepreneurs, the growing company released its first annual sustainability report last month. The report is the first of its kind and highlights Khiron’s commitment to the environment on a global scale.
“It’s with great pride that we present our inaugural sustainability report,” said María Jimena Ochoa, Vice President of Sustainable Development at Khiron.“This reflects not only our commitment to continue improving the lives of patients, employees, local communities, shareholders and other stakeholders, along with our pledge to minimize negative environmental impacts, but also encompasses all of our initiatives carried out in 2020 to materialize our higher purpose, while strengthening our capacity to implement sustainable management practices in our operations, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
As one of the leading vertically integrated cannabis companies, Khiron has cemented themselves as a major player in the growing medicinal cannabis industry.
Complete Oversight, From Seed to Patient
Khiron is a medicinal marijuana provider, but that label doesn’t encapsulate the brand in its entirety. Rather, Khiron is focused on improving lives through the sale and prescription of sustainable cannabis.
Torres, a Colombian native, built Khiron out of his passion for providing high-quality, sustainable cannabis to patients. Instead of controlling just one aspect of the supply chain, Torres wanted to ensure the quality and effectiveness of his product by overseeing the growth of the cannabis plant all the way to creating products and prescribing them to patients.
“From the very beginning we have been focused on building demand for medical cannabis all across Latin America and Europe,” Torres said. “To do this, we need to create real world evidence, produce high-quality, consistent and safe products, and provide more access to patients.”
Khiron’s Zerenia clinics are the building block of this vertically integrated strategy.
“With our clinics, we are able to generate real world evidence, persuade doctors of the benefits of medical cannabis, create demand with patients, and provide access by engaging with insurers to offer coverage for our medications.” Torres explained. “Our intention is to continue moving forward with this strategy in our target markets wherever we can, and as agile as possible.”
Eighty-thousand square feet of cultivation area make up the vast majority of Khiron’s supply with tightly vetted third-party manufacturers supplementing output volume. The facility, located in Tolima, Colombia, produces up to nine tons per year of dried flower. Khiron’s facilities are GMP compliant, while the laboratory that produces the magistral formulations is Good Elaboration Practice (GEP) certified. Products are standardized and stabilized according to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention analytics standard.
But cultivation is just one aspect of their business. Khiron’s medical health centers and telemedicine platforms create an experience that is firmly centered around the patient. Proprietary telehealth platforms and seed-to-patient sourcing means Khiron’s clinics can vouch for the quality and effectiveness of their product. This patient-forward approach towards medical marijuana has led to unwavering brand loyalty from users.
“The vertical integration of the company guarantees quality of products, pharmacovigilance to monitor the development of the treatments, close attention and follow up in health services and in general a whole experience that makes any of our patients the center of our operation,” Torres said. “This approach has created a brand loyalty that has allowed us to have more than 6,000 recurrent patients at the beginning of August, and this is a number that increases every month.”
Providing patients with environmentally friendly cannabis is a key component of Khiron’s business model. The company now offers their sustainable cannabis in Colombia, Peru, Germany, the UK, and Brazil. Specific operations in each country vary depending on regulations in the region. In Colombia, the company is responsible for three wholly owned clinics and became the first company to sell THC medical cannabis in Peru through Farmacia Universal. In the UK, Khiron’s Project Twenty21 aims to create evidence of the effectiveness of medical cannabis through clinical trials. Championing projects that increase evidence towards the clinical efficacy of medical cannabis positions Khiron to expand their care into more countries.
The success of Khiron’s Colombian seed-to-patient business model is evident in the company’s Q2 earnings from 2021, which saw 68% growth year-over-year in total revenues. These numbers come with a staggering 88% gross margin in medical cannabis and are indicative of both the company’s success and the growing market for medicinal cannabis. Khiron is working to bring their business model to the European sector and aims to reach 1 million patients and consumers by 2024. This expansion comes with a desire to champion sustainable growing practices and functions as a global leader for cannabis and the environment.
Khiron’s 2020 Sustainability Report highlights the company and its brand’s overarching dedication to science and sustainable cannabis production. By initially identifying key issues, such as reducing carbon footprint and energy use, Khiron developed 10 goals that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are designed to be the blueprint for sustainable initiatives going forward and prove to be a more than adequate benchmark for success in sustainability.
Like many brands, Khiron’s commitment to the environment stems from a deep-seated ideology that corporations are responsible for the communities and environments in which they operate. Integrating environmentally sustainable measures into their business practices helps ensure they are positively impacting local communities.
“Taking care and preserving natural resources through their responsible and efficient usage and management is a fundamental principle of our operations,” Ochoa said. “We believe the sustainable growth of our business shall not affect the availability of resources for the local communities, nor future generations.”
Environmental compliance is a major part of fulfilling this mission; Khiron strictly follows all local environmental regulations in their regions of business. Environmental Social Governance (ESG), has become increasingly more important to both consumers and stakeholders. Recognizing the need for corporate accountability, Khiron is committed to improving lives through cannabis, but it doesn’t stop there; the brand also contributes resources to enhancing the health and environment of their patients’ communities.
One outreach effort exemplifying their dedication to the environment took place in Tolima, Colombia, where Khiron’s production facilities are located. To offset their carbon footprint, Khiron commissioned a solar park that aims to reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent and is expected to reduce Khiron’s CO2 emissions by 580 tons. This initiative comes with moves to reduce natural resource consumption including water, energy, and raw materials.
Sustainable medicinal cannabis is in high demand, and Khiron is doing their part to encourage other cannabis leaders to follow their example. Khiron’s 97-page 2020 sustainability report indicates their recognition of the challenges posed by a changing climate and commitment to mitigating the effects as best they can.