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INTERVIEW: Emad Rahim has worked as a management consultant for over a decade, supporting organizations and universities in project management, strategic planning, change management, leadership development, and diversity/DEI education and training. A faculty member in Syracuse University’s College of Professional Studies, Rahim is an award-winning author, educator, Fulbright Recipient, and TEDx Speaker.

HempToday: Traditionally, risk has a negative connotation, but that’s changing, and “positive risk” now comes into play in business management. What is a “positive risk?”

Emad Rahim: Positive risks are those potential scenarios or conditions that, if realized, would have a favorable effect on a project’s or business’s goals.

What’s an example of a positive risk in the hemp industry?

ER: One such instance is hemp’s impact on sustainability. The escalating popularity of hemp post-legalization is largely due to its potential as a sustainable resource. Regarded as a renewable material, hemp can contribute positively to the sustainability of various products.

HT: Talk about that in the context of risk management.

ER: Such opportunities underscore the capacity for advancement and creativity within the hemp sector, paving the way for economic, ecological, and societal gains. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to acknowledge that these prospects, while promising, are accompanied by their own complexities and uncertainties that necessitate astute risk management.

Meet Emad Rahim at “Industrial Hemp Product Development in a Fractured Domestic Supply Chain,” a webinar to be hosted by Syracuse University, Wednesday, May 22, 2024

HT: The cannabis industries suffer from something of a built-in bad reputation. Is there anything that hemp companies specifically can be doing to manage their reputations and mitigate reputational damage? How can they work the upside and build image?

ER: Establishing benchmarks aligned with the best practices of conventional manufacturing and agriculture can significantly enhance the credibility of the cannabis sector and elevate the public image of hemp.

Engaging in recognized quality assurance initiatives such as ISO 9000, and implementing quality control methodologies like 6 Sigma or Lean Sigma, positions hemp enterprises on par with Fortune 500 companies. This alignment not only facilitates the industry’s mention in global publications and academic research but also paves the way for inclusion in esteemed recognition programs.

HT: Talk about risk management in the context of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

ER: In managing risks within the hemp sector, particularly regarding environmental and social factors, the focus is on adopting measures that curtail adverse effects while enhancing beneficial ones. Reflecting on the earlier example of sustainability, consider the adoption of eco-friendly agricultural practices.

Employing methods like crop rotation, organic farming, and restrained pesticide use helps maintain soil vitality and ecosystem diversity. From a social standpoint, fostering positive relations with local communities ensures that hemp cultivation contributes to communal prosperity without causing displacement or unfair practices. Such measures are instrumental in fostering a hemp industry that is both ethically responsible and ecologically sustainable, thereby promoting overall societal well-being.

HT: How important is communication to effective risk management?

ER: As a project manager, I’d estimate that communication constitutes about 90% of risk management. Effective communication, encompassing both internal and external dialogue, is essential for successful risk management. It guarantees that every stakeholder is well-informed about potential risks and the strategies implemented to mitigate them.

Strong communication networks, whether within the organization or with external parties, form the cornerstone of a robust risk management framework. They enable the crucial exchange of information necessary for the identification, evaluation, and effective management of risks.

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“}]] The popularity of hemp is largely due to its potential as a sustainable resource.  Read More  

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