Summit participants craft policy priorities for 2023 aimed at making Hawaiʻi thrive

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The participants of a summit on the Big Island that included leaders from several sectors throughout the state aimed at sustainability have crafted a list of priorities that will help build a collective vision, share kuleana and take action to make Hawaiʻi a thriving place for all.

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth speaks with Mahina Paishon-Duarte of Waiwai Collective, left, and Kate Logan of Terraformation during the 2022 Hawaiʻi Sustainability Summit on the Big Island. Photo courtesy of Hawaiʻi County.

The 2022 Hawaiʻi Sustainability Summit brought together business, nonprofit, community and government leaders for a three-day, action-oriented event, building on the broad ideas and inspiring plans from the first Sustainability Summit in 2021. The event was designed with a clear vision and a specific goal: “Building Partnerships for Policy.”

The summit aimed to break down silos and drive shared priority agreements that can catalyze sweeping policy shifts for all of the islands, according to Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth’s message on the summit website.

“It is on the backs of our collective advocacy efforts that we truly begin a path for a sustainable island home,” Roth’s message on the website says. “The time to act is now — for our keiki and theirs.”


Specific priorities were identified in each of the six issue areas aligned with the Aloha+ Challenge goals. Those priorities include:

  • Implementation of aloha ‘āina community-based stewardship funded through a visitor green fee.
  • Creation of a “one-stop shop” that provides ‘ōiwi-informed human resources, legal and other services to enable a diverse and equitable industry.
  • Operation of the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures assessment tool for policies, projects and programs.
  • Adoption of the updated zero-waste plan for Hawaiʻi County.
  • Requiring government-funded projects to be near zero waste; reuse of abandoned buildings and materials.
  • Requiring geographic preference in food procurement policies.
  • Investment in network coordinators to support collaboration for consumer education and incentives.
  • Fast-tracking of permitting to support smart sustainable communities.
  • Establishment of an employer working group to analyze housing needs and evaluate if communities have their needs met.

Summit participants will continue to work together to advocate for meaningful policy change. A full report based on the insights and decisions made during the 2022 Hawaiʻi Sustainability Summit will be published in January 2023, along with the launch of a legislative dashboard maintained by Hawaiʻi Green Growth, in concert with the Aloha+ Challenge, to be launched the same month.

To learn more about the summit, click here. You can find summit photos, recorded panel presentations, a video recap and a summary of the policy priorities identified.



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