SBF in New York for Climate Action Summit

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Hawai‘i’s Sustainability Business Forum (SBF), comprised of 17 business executives from diverse industries, will talk climate action with representatives from around the world at a new United Nations (UN) event in New York City.

This week, SBF members along with a delegation of over 20 government, academic and community partners from Hawaiʻi are attending the UN General Assembly and first-ever Climate Action Summit to share Hawaiʻi’s story of sustainability action with global leaders, according to an SBF press release.

The Sustainability Business Forum in Hawai‘i is taking action on climate change while boosting Aloha+ Challenge goals, which support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. SBF members represent over 21,000 employees, $8.5 billion in revenue and $95 million in philanthropic spending, the release continued.

Pressing forward on Hawaiʻi’s carbon neutrality goal, 10 SBF members jointly invested $150,000 toward 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, the release said.

“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,” said Ulalia Woodside, executive director at The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i. “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 Hawai’i business to explore a possible new, green industry for Hawai’i 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,” said Irene Sprecher, forest program manager for the State Department of Land and Natural Resources DOFAW.

Accelerating the state’s goal to achieve 30% energy efficiency and 40% renewable energy by 2030, and 100% renewable energy by 2045, SBF members collectively achieved over 4 million kWh in aggregate energy savings as a result of enrolling in Hawaiʻi Energy’s Continuous Energy Improvement program, the release said.

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 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,” said 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 Islands Hub and joined the United Nations Global Compact, consisting of more than 9,000 CEOs committed to implementing the SDGs.

SBF members include: Alexander & Baldwin, AHL, Bank of Hawaiʻi, Castle FoundationFirst Hawaiian BankHawaiian AirlinesHawaiʻi Community FoundationHawaiʻi GasHawaiʻi Pacific UniversityHawaiian ElectricKamehameha SchoolsKualoa RanchResortTrust HawaiʻiThe MacNaughton GroupPineapple Tweed PR & Marketing, Pūlama Lānaʻi and the

 Ulupono Initiative.

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