The East-West Center has become the first educational institution to receive a Hawai‘i Green Business and Green Government Award, which recognizes organizations for outstanding effort in improving their environmental footprint. This year’s awards were presented by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to the EWC and seven other organizations at a Hawai‘i Clean Energy Day event at the state Capitol on April 20.
“We’re honored to receive this recognition and hope it rallies our staff and peer institutions to even better purchasing, energy and water use practices that are aligned with the realities of living on these islands,” said EWC Education Specialist Christina Monroe, co-chair of the Center’s Environmental Sustainability Task Force.
The Center was commended for reducing electricity consumption by more than 20-35 percent in several of its buildings through more efficient lighting and reduced air-conditioning use, as well as for the student-led Sustainable EWC Initiative. To date, the initiative has attracted more than 100 student volunteers representing more than 30 countries, who have contributed more than 2,400 combined hours to lessening Center’s environmental impact. As one of the long-range goals of Sustainable EWC, participants take the lessons learned in environmental stewardship back to their home countries to expand the impact further.
The success of the student initiative sparked the formation of a Center-wide Environmental Sustainability Task Force that has helped conserve power and water and implemented recycling programs.
The Hawai‘i Green Business Program is a partnership between several state and city departments, along with the Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce, to assist and recognize businesses that operate in an environmentally responsible way. The program helps businesses to go beyond compliance to conserve energy, water and other resources, and to reduce pollution and waste. Participants benefit from onsite compliance assistance and green business promotions, as well as public recognition for their efforts.