Sustainability Business Forum

SBF members discuss sustainable pathways to economic prosperity at the 2017 VERGE Summit. Panelists left to right: Alan Oshima (Hawaiian Electric Company), George Szigeti (Hawai‘i Tourism Authority), Mark Dunkerley (Hawaiian Airlines), and moderator Celeste Connors (Hawai‘i Green Growth)

The Sustainability Business Forum (SBF) brings together top-level executives representing a broad sector of Hawaiʻi businesses committed to achieve economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and community resilience. Facilitated by Hawai‘i Green Growth and advised by an expert Working Group of government and environmental leaders, SBF collaborates on concrete initiatives to increase livability and climate resilience in Hawai‘i. In 2016, the SBF developed specific recommendations for targets and indicators with other diverse partners to track progress on the Aloha+ Challenge 2030 Smart Sustainable Communities goal.

Currently, SBF is working with partners and technical experts to develop a carbon mitigation initiative, including opportunities for Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) and ecotourism, to identify successful approaches to incentivize restoration and conservation. SBF members are exploring Business Blueprints for Action that will help local business leaders collaborate on projects that build resilience, reduce risk and create investment opportunities.

Joint Initiatives on Carbon Offsets and Payment for Ecosystem Services

The Hawai‘i-hosted IUCN World Conservation Congress used third party resources to estimate the amount of carbon emissions associated with the 2016 conference in Hawaiʻi. Committed to making the event 100% climate neutral, the IUCN purchased carbon credits from Cordillera Azul National Park Project in Peru (10,172 tons), the Bundled Grid Connected Wind power project from Tamilnadu, India (5,000 tons) and the Wind Energy Project in Maharashtra by M/s Shah Promoters & Developers (18,328 tons). Hawaiʻi did not have any carbon offset programs to meet the IUCN’s needs.

Inspired by high-level dialogues at IUCN World Conservation Congress, SBF members agreed to focus on market-based mechanisms in Hawai‘i, including a carbon offset initiative and Payment for Ecosystems Services. To inform joint action, SBF commissioned a legal and policy analysis, provided by Conservation International, for a landscape assessment on a market-based mechanism that will incentivize restoration and conservation of Hawai‘i’s globally important ecosystems and its environmental services. Released in November during the COP23, the report is now available and will support Hawai‘i next steps on a carbon offset initiative. Following the legal and policy analysis, SBF will pursue an Economic Analysis to evaluate possible mechanisms and revenue streams that could fund reforestation and restoration efforts in public and private lands in Hawai‘i. The group is currently examining possible pilot projects in with state, private, and community partners.

Hawai‘i Green Growth is coordinating the SBF, as well as a Working Group of public, private, and civil society partners, to support collaboration and joint implementation of a Hawai‘i-based carbon offset initiative.

Sustainability Business Forum Reports

SBF Events & Highlights