It's been exactly nine months today since the close of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders summit in Honolulu (read my case study here), and Hawai'i's leaders are already looking forward to their next opportunity. Which is sustainability and environmental events and conferences, according to Randy Tanaka, assistant GM of the Hawai'i Convention Center. Tanaka and I met up at ASAE's annual event to discuss.
APEC laid the groundwork for Hawai'i to pursue major policy events, proving that the state's infrastructure is sufficient, it's operations and logistics effective. "The chips are stacking nicely," Tanaka says. Visits from Asia are improving month-on-month. Hawaiian has increased its flights from Asian ports, and new visa waiver rules are making it easier for travelers to enter the country.
Now, Tanaka says, it's time to woo the business of sustainability. Hawai'i has the highest number of endangered species in the U.S., it has an ocean that tells the story of global warming and changing ecosystems and it has one of the nation's most developed sustainable business networks. Oh, and then there's the Green Growth Initiative which targets the following by 2030.
- 70 percent clean energy (40 percent from renewable resources, 30 percent from conservation)
- Double local food production (to 20-30 percent of food consumed locally)
- Reverse the trend of natural resource loss mauka to makai (from the mountains to the sea—more water and reef fish; more healthy forests, streams and coastlines; and no new extinctions of species)
- Increase local green jobs and education to implement these targets
It's policies like these that make Hawai'i not just another great destination, but an enviable one as well.