Social License for Net Zero Industries in Carbon-Heavy Regions: Industrial Hemp in Lithgow

5 April 2024

Project Lead: Neil Perry, Western Sydney University

Project Partners: Western Sydney University’s Maldhan Ngurr Ngurra – the Lithgow Transformation Hub and its assortment of collaborators

This scoping project uses desktop research, strategic interviews, and collaborative workshops with industry partners to enable the regenerative farming and processing of industrial hemp in the Lithgow region for commercial use in construction and other industries. Workshops will convene industry partners in farming, construction, and allied hemp sectors to explore industry futures. They will be conducted at the Lithgow Transformation Hub, leveraging existing partner networks focused on transitioning to a post-carbon economy.

While many of the technical aspects of feasibility, material performance, and carbon sequestration benefits of industrial hemp are known, the industry’s social license to operate remains undeveloped, partly due to issues of unfamiliarity and stigma. Our project will bring together stakeholders to foreground what is known about the feasibility and benefits of industrial hemp, current impediments to the regional establishment of cropping and processing, and based on those, opportunities, and next steps towards that establishment.

Project Timeline: July 2024 – June 2025