Lately, the marijuana industry has come under fire for its high carbon footprint, and the environmentally damaging practices of certain unregulated growers. But one new rolling papers company, which goes by the name HAZO, is demonstrating that—like organic vegetables or free-range eggs—industry ethics can also be driven by consumer habits.
HAZO is kind of like the TOMS shoes of the marijuana industry: for every pack of rolling papers you buy, they’ll plant one tree. This business model, called the “one-for-one” model, has become increasingly popular in the last few decades, inspiring companies like Warby Parker Eyewear and Bombas. HAZO is slightly different, however, as it doesn’t give away the same product that consumers buy, like shoes or eyeglasses. Rather, a certain percentage of the company’s profits are used to address a broader social and environmental issue.
The company brands itself as “a social cause cannabis lifestyle brand,” according to the HAZO website. Not only are their rolling papers unbleached and made from hemp, but engaging with their product allows consumers to be a part of a larger social movement.
“Our goal at HAZO Rolling Papers™ is not only to plant trees but to assist in alleviating poverty and social issues. Through your support and our awesome partners, we help provide local villagers with employment while contributing to the restoration of once-thriving ecosystems!” Reads their website.
HAZO accomplishes this by paying local villagers to replant trees, rather than bringing in employees or volunteers from foreign countries like the U.S.
HAZO currently employs 320 villagers, who plant 1.4 million mangrove trees each month.
As HAZO’s promotional video explains, this amounts to an area of trees that is twice the size of Disney Land, planted every month.
HAZO’s first tree planting project will take place in Madagascar, where about 90% of the “pre-human” forest cover has been lost due to human intervention. According to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, an estimated 85 percent of Madagascar’s flowering plants can’t be found anywhere else on the entire planet. In terms of wildlife, the island is home to the highest number of at-risk reptiles and “critically endangered primates” of any country on Earth.
HAZO is partnering with Eden Projects to launch a reforestation project in Madagascar that they hope will both restore the country’s ecosystems, and lift local people out of poverty. Eden Projects is a non-profit organization that has long aimed to do just this.
It only costs HAZO 10 cents to plant one tree in Madagascar, which comes directly out of their rolling-papers profits. The cheapest pack of HAZO rolling papers costs $2.99. The company sells regular sized papers, king-sized papers, and full boxes for just over $60.
But the brand new company also intends to launch a line of smoking accessories and clothing. It’s unclear how much revenue from these products will go towards planting trees, but the company assures its customer base that “we will be staying true to our roots and commit to planting a certain amount of trees for every product sold!”