Participants in the recent Aloha+ Challenge statewide meeting take time out to pose for a photo at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. The meeting was co-hosted by the County of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Green Growth and the National Tropical Botanical Garden on May 23-24.

Approximately 50 key leaders and stakeholders from across the state recently convened on Kaua‘i to develop recommendations for the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard, according to a press release from the County of Kaua‘i.

The group discussed shared metrics to track their progress, provide accountability and advance action on Hawai‘i’s statewide 2030 sustainability goals. The meeting was co-hosted by the County of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Green Growth and the National Tropical Botanical Garden on May 23-24.

Celeste Connors, executive director of Hawai‘i Green Growth, said tracking Hawai‘i’s sustainability goals is critical to achieving the Aloha+ Challenge.

“The Dashboard holds exciting opportunities for innovation to capture community-driven data, increased county-level measures, and enhanced visuals and interactive features,” Connors said. “Its purpose is to inform policy and inspire action.”

The Aloha+ Challenge was launched in 2014 by the governor, four county mayors, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, State Legislature and a number of public/private partners from diverse sectors. Hawai‘i Green Growth serves as the backbone organization for the Aloha+ Challenge.

The leadership team made a commitment to achieve six integrated sustainability goals in the areas of clean energy, local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart sustainable communities, and green workforce and education.

The goals provide a framework for setting priorities, tracking progress, and catalyzing action on sustainability and community resilience.

“Kaua‘i is proud to collaborate with leaders across the state in creating a culture of sustainability. We are fortunate that Hawai‘i has a history of systems-thinking and ancestral knowledge that we can draw from,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said.

Since 2014, the counties have taken turns hosting an annual Aloha+ Challenge statewide meeting that focused on one of their sustainability goals.

Kaua‘i held the first kick-off meeting on clean energy, and hosted the recent meeting on smart sustainable communities that include areas such as climate resilience and disaster management, affordable housing, mobility, economic prosperity and connection to place. In addition to the working sessions, the participants visited some of the island’s sustainability sites including: the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which has a LEED certified building; Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the multi-use path; and Hardy Street, Kaua‘i’s first major Complete Streets project. In addition, they toured Rice Street, site of the TIGER grant area, and enjoyed a Farm to Table meal at the Kaua‘i Beer Company.

Last week, Connors spoke at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York, where Hawai‘i was recognized for leadership on the Paris Climate Agreement as well as the Aloha+ Challenge.