The year was 2009, and while in reality it wasn’t that long ago, there are instances where we can see how much things have changed. For example, President Barack Obama was in the first year of his first term, and the U.S. was trying to recover from the worst recession in 70 years. Instagram hadn’t been invented yet, Uber just launched, and people were using Facebook to “poke” friends.
In Hawaii, 2009 was the year Pierre and Pam Omidyar founded Ulupono Initiative as an impact investment firm to help increase Hawaii’s self-sufficiency. At the time, we identified three sectors -- renewable energy, local food production and waste management -- that we felt could positively impact the quality of life for island residents and future generations.
Here are highlights from each sector then and now:
We created the following goals and milestones for each sector to measure how well Hawaii is performing:
The biggest lessons that we’ve had to learn in the past eight years are the time, complexities and politics involved with moving projects forward. While we knew that things generally take longer to get going in Hawaii, we underestimated the slow pace of acceptance, adoption and understanding.
It has not been a smooth ride and sometimes it can feel like a rollercoaster. Fortunately, we have a great team of investment, communications and policy professionals who are dedicated to seeking solutions to Hawaii’s self-sufficiency challenges. We are also blessed to have founders who are patient and generous with their resources. And, we are grateful to the individuals and organizations who have given their support and encouragement throughout these past eight years.