The Enormous Job Creation Potential of Hemp Industries in Ireland and Globally

Hemp Can Significantly Impact UN SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Hemp Can Significantly Impact UN SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

The global pivot towards sustainability has opened up exciting opportunities in emerging industries, and hemp is leading the charge. The versatile crop has been rediscovered as a sustainable raw material with applications that promise immense potential for job creation across multiple sectors, with 82,000 jobs created in Ireland alone, if we invest in infrastructure. In Ireland and around the world, hemp is creating new employment opportunities in agriculture, construction, biofuels, and bioplastics.

The presentation by Kaya O’Riordan on the potential of hemp as outlined in the Teagasc publication (link below) provides a comprehensive analysis of how hemp cultivation and processing can contribute to job creation, with the potential for 82,000 new, sustainable jobs in Ireland alone. The focus is on leveraging hemp’s versatility across various sectors, emphasising its applications in sustainable construction, textiles, food, and animal feed. Key highlights include:

  1. Sustainable Agriculture: By integrating hemp into crop rotation systems, farmers can create new agricultural jobs focused on sustainable farming practices. This benefits soil health while providing a resilient crop for diverse products.
  2. Construction Industry: With the rising interest in hempcrete, the construction sector stands to benefit from new jobs in manufacturing and applying this eco-friendly building material. Hempcrete’s insulation properties and carbon sequestration potential appeal to the growing demand for green buildings.
  3. Textiles and Bio-based Products: The processing of hemp into fibres and bioplastics offers substantial job creation opportunities. Skilled technicians are needed to transform hemp stalks into textiles, while scientists and engineers can develop and refine bioplastics for various applications.
  4. Food and Feed Industries: The high nutritional value of hemp seeds and oils opens up new markets in health foods and animal feeds. Processing plants and quality control teams will be essential to ensure product quality, creating jobs in these segments.
  5. Global Market Growth: The presentation emphasises how the global trend towards sustainability will continue to fuel demand for hemp products, expanding job creation possibilities in both domestic and international markets.

The presentation confirms how a strategic focus on hemp can stimulate economic growth by creating a diverse range of employment opportunities across agriculture, construction, food production, and biotechnology.

Sustainable Construction Jobs

One of the most promising sectors is sustainable construction, where hemp is increasingly used to produce an innovative material known as hempcrete. A blend of hemp fibres, lime, and water, hempcrete serves as a lightweight yet strong alternative to traditional concrete. Its natural insulation properties and ability to sequester carbon have drawn the attention of architects and builders aiming for low-carbon construction.

In Ireland and other regions, skilled workers are required to grow, harvest, and process hemp fibres, while construction professionals will need to be trained in the application and use of hempcrete. This has the potential to create thousands of sustainable jobs in construction and engineering while promoting green building practices.

Zero Carbon Industries: Biofuels and Bioplastics

Hemp’s remarkable carbon capture ability makes it ideal for zero-carbon industries like biofuels and bioplastics. Hemp biofuel has shown promise as a renewable energy source, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. As demand for sustainable fuels grows, biofuel production facilities that convert hemp biomass into biodiesel or ethanol could create specialised jobs for chemists, engineers, and plant workers.

Bioplastics, on the other hand, present another exciting frontier. Hemp cellulose can be processed into biodegradable plastic alternatives, reducing our dependence on petroleum-based plastics. Production and productization of hemp bioplastics open up a spectrum of job opportunities in research and development, manufacturing, and quality control.

Sustainable Agriculture and Processing

Of course, the foundation of these burgeoning industries lies in the agricultural cultivation of hemp. Growing hemp requires knowledge of best practices to ensure a high yield while maintaining soil health and sustainability. This supports the rise of sustainable farming practices and creates stable employment for farmers, labourers, and agronomists.

Processing hemp into usable fibres, oils, and other byproducts also provides employment in manufacturing facilities. From decortication (separating the fibrous stalks from the inner core) to refining oils and producing textiles, processing facilities demand skilled operators, technicians, and engineers.

The Global Impact

Globally, the potential job creation through hemp industries extends to markets across the entire world, everywhere sustainable agricultural practices are being promoted. With climate change increasingly influencing economic policies, hemp offers a tangible way to create sustainable jobs that reduce environmental impact.

The global hemp industry is poised to be a key driver in job creation. Whether in construction, renewable energy, or agriculture, hemp offers a multitude of opportunities for people worldwide to participate in the transition to a greener economy. Ireland is in a prime position to become a leader in this field by investing in the infrastructure, research, and training needed to maximise the job creation potential of hemp. Tao Climate is based in Dublin, Ireland, one of the European Union’s largest tech hubs. We are perfectly positioned to deliver hundreds of high-tech and operations jobs to develop and deploy the scalable technology that will enable the expansion of hemp industries globally, with massive benefits for people and the planet.

Learn more


Kaya O’Riordan, Teagasc presentation on hemp job creation in Ireland:

Teagasc factsheet on hemp in Ireland:

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