An unprecedented diverse group of 17 local business executives who make up the Sustainability Business Forum (SBF) are taking action on climate change and boosting Aloha+ Challenge goals, which support the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SBF members represent over 21,000 employees, $8.5 billion in revenue and $95 million in philanthropic spending.
This week, SBF members along with a diverse delegation of over 20 government, academic, and community partners from Hawaiʻi are in New York for the UN General Assembly and first-ever Climate Action Summit to share Hawaiʻi’s story of sustainability action with global leaders
Pressing forward on Hawaiʻi’s carbon neutrality goal, 10 SBF members jointly invested $150,000 towards creating a carbon offset project in Hawaiʻi. Working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on a pilot 8,000-acre project in the Kona Hema forest on the Big Island, SBF anticipates the project will be launched in 2020. The project is estimated to generate 120,000 credits over the first 10 years that can be sold on the global voluntary market. The IUCN World Conservation Congress that took place in Hawaiʻi in 2016 purchased offset credits from projects in Peru and India to offset the roughly 30,000 tons of emissions associated with the conference, as there were no local projects available at the time.
“A carbon offset program in Hawaiʻi will allow businesses, residents, and visitors to offset their carbon emissions by investing in protecting Hawaiʻi’s koa and ʻōhiʻa forests, as well as improving groundwater recharge,” says Ulalia Woodside, Executive Director at The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi. “We are delighted to partner with the SBF to create a market-based mechanism that can accelerate investment in these natural resources and ecosystem functions.”
“We are excited to join other Hawaiʻi businesses to explore a possible new, green industry for Hawaiʻi that supports both the economic and environmental sustainability of our state,” said Peter Ingram, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, one of the founding members of the SBF.
In addition to TNC, other landowners including the State of Hawaiʻi, Kamehameha Schools, and Pūlama Lānaʻi are also considering or planning to launch carbon offset projects.
“We are excited about this leadership from the private sector to accelerate momentum on our carbon neutrality goal and have been sharing lessons learned and forest carbon data across projects to help build a carbon offset market in Hawaiʻi together,” says Irene Sprecher, Forest Program Manager for the DLNR DOFAW.
Accelerating the state’s goal to achieve 30 percent energy efficiency and 40 percent renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, SBF members collectively achieved over 4 million kWh (4,263,937) in aggregate energy savings as a result of enrolling in Hawaiʻi Energy’s Continuous Energy Improvement (CEI) program.
Improving energy efficiency is the first phase of SBF’s Green Your Business Initiative to lead by example. Each company’s progress, as well as SBF’s collective contribution are now tracked on the Aloha+ Dashboard (www.dashboard.hawaii.gov/aloha-challenge) as the “business sector energy efficiency” target under the Clean Energy Goal.
“Considering Hawai‘i’s commercial sector purchased 2.8 million MWh of electricity across the HECO territories for $843 million in 2018, even a 3% reduction would save our commercial and government sectors 84,000 MWh and $25 million.” says Brian Kealoha, Executive Director of Hawai‘i Energy.
SBF members will also address other Aloha+ Challenge goals, including plastic reduction, employee well-being, workplace disaster resilience, and sustainable tourism.
In recognition of Hawaiʻi’s leadership in sustainability efforts nationally and internationally, Hawaiʻi Green Growth was invited by the United Nations to become the Local2030 Hub, and joined the United Nations Global Compact, consisting of more than 9,000 CEOs committed to implementing the SDGs.
The Sustainability Business Forum (SBF) brings together executives representing a broad diversity of Hawaiʻi businesses committed to achieving economic prosperity, environmental stewardship, and community resilience. Partnering with government, civil society and environmental leaders, SBF collaborates on concrete initiatives to increase livability and climate resiliency in Hawaiʻi. https://sbf.hawaiigreengrowth.org
SBF members: Alexander & Baldwin, AHL, Bank of Hawaiʻi, The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Hawaiʻi Gas, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, Hawaiian Electric, Kamehameha Schools, Kualoa Ranch, ResortTrust Hawaiʻi, The MacNaughton Group, Pineapple Tweed PR & Marketing, Pūlama Lānaʻi, Ulupono Initiative
Carbon Offset Project Investors: Alexander & Baldwin, The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Hawaiʻi Gas, Hawaiian Electric, Kamehameha Schools, The MacNaughton Group, Pūlama Lānaʻi, Ulupono Initiative
Hawaiʻi Green Growth Local2030 Hub is a network-based organization of public, private, and civil society members committed to achieving Hawaiʻi’s economic, social and environmental goals. https://www.hawaiigreengrowth.org