Stewarding Hawaiʻi Toward a Sustainable Future


By Hannah Kaʻiulani Coburn

The Aloha + Challenge is a statewide initiative that began in 2014. It is a public-private commitment, signed by the governor’s office, all county offices, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), that aims to achieve social, economic, and environmental goals for Hawaiʻi to reach by 2030.

Hawaiʻi became the first and only U.S. state to report progress towards achieving global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by submitting a Voluntary Local Review (a synthesized progress report) to the United Nations back in 2020.

Since then, stewards of the Aloha + Challenge, The Hawaiʻi Green Growth Local 2030 Hub, and partners continue to work towards developing island-led solutions categorized through six priority goals: clean energy transformation, local food production and consumption, natural resource management, solid waste reduction, smart sustainable communities, and green workforce and education.

Hawaiʻi Green Growth also maintains the Aloha + Challenge Dashboard, which is used to track progress on each of these priority goals, to measure what is on track and what areas need improvement.

“All of these goals are rooted in existing policy and legislation that was signed, so we track various data across different department agencies, counties, and highlight academic institutional studies through our open data platform,” explained Jillian Cristobal, dashboard lab coordinator for Hawaiʻi Green Growth.

“We track progress with the indicator deemed best amongst various stakeholders from all different fields to track progress and goals through the information and scorecards you see on the dashboard website and what we include in the reports,” Cristobal said.

As the halfway mark for the initiative is approaching, the Aloha + Challenge’s second and most recent voluntary local review came from 2023.

Data in this report reveals that Hawaiʻi is meeting certain goals, such as reaching 70% renewable energy by 2030, having an upward trend in recycling (695,931 tons of material have been recycled and composted as of 2021), and maintaining control of invasive species through hundreds of ongoing actions initiated from the Hawaiʻi Interagency Biosecurity Plan.

Areas of improvement for Hawaiʻi includes health and nutrition access, as Hawaiʻi’s food insecurity increased from 11.2% to 16.8% between 2018 and 2020, according to a 2021 research study from the College of Social Sciences, UH Mānoa and First Insurance Company of Hawaiʻi.

Additionally, affordable housing in Hawai’i shows a downward trend due to most residents spending an average of 49-55% on housing and transportation costs combined.

As various stakeholders, legislators, small businesses, and organizations work to better these areas of improvement before 2030, people across Hawaiʻi are encouraged to become directly involved and participate in the challenge to help improve their counties.

To get involved, “Take the Challenge” on the Aloha + Challenge website and answer a few lifestyle questions. The results will provide action steps that individuals or households can take to better their communities by using everyday resources more responsibly to help make Hawaiʻi more sustainable today and for the generations to come.

For more information go to:

To “Take the Challenge” go to: