OUR VISION

To perpetuate “Shared Prosperity the Island Way." Our citizens will thrive in an environment where social, economic and environmental values are in balance.


OUR MISSION

To create shared sustainable prosperity and opportunity through responsible, diversified economic development across the Hawaiian Islands.


    OUR BELIEFS

    We believe:

    1. In sustainable communities
    2. That economic development should benefit all people
    3. The best ideas and solutions come from the communities in which issues originate
    4. Cultural and environmental values should be upheld and honored

    OUR STRUCTURE

    The Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH) is a 501(c)(3) Hawaii Corporation. Incorporated in 1998, the Alliance was established to support the initiative of economic development and diversification across the Hawaiian Islands. Promoting economic growth has been the cornerstone mission of Economic Development Association of Hawaii.

    EDAH is a consortium of organizations with more than 100 years of collective experience. Members represent the business and economic interests of Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai. EDAH consists of the following private, non-profit organizations:

    Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), whose mission is to provide leadership and vision in our community for the responsible design and development of a strong sustainable and diversified economy for Maui County.

    Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HIEDB), whose mission is to provide and promote private sector support and expertise for balanced growth in Hawaii County in partnership with Federal, State, County and private resources.

    Kauai Economic Development Board (KEDB), whose mission is to improve the quality of life on Kauai by developing partnerships to diversify the economy, support industry clusters and educate our youth to succeed in the global economy.

    Oahu Economic Development Board (OEDB), whose mission is to create and implement a strategy for economic prosperity – good paying jobs and globally competitive industries – for the citizens of Oahu, in a manner that helps ensure the environment and culture will be sustainable for future generations.

    Hawaii Business Roundtable (HBR) is a non-profit organization consisting of Hawaii’s top 50 companies headquartered in or maintaining significant business in Hawaii.

     

    Governance

    EDAH is governed by a board of directors. The EDAH board consists of the chairs of each county Economic Development Board (or their designee), their president or chief executive officer, and a Hawaii Business Roundtable representative. The EDAH board includes an array of At-Large Directors, who contribute their expertise and experiences from agriculture, technology, tourism, environment, academia, and financial services to inform strategies and initiatives.

    The Executive Committee consists of a chair, vice chair, secretary/treasurer and designees of OEDB, HIEDB, KEDB, MEDB and HBR.


    BOARD OF DIRECTORS


    BACKGROUND

    The Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH) was established in 1998 to promote the economic wellbeing of the state of Hawaii and each of its counties. It operates exclusively for charitable or educational purposes.

    More than ever, Hawaii is affected by national and global economic forces, which are having direct effects at every county level.

    The successful development and implementation of a statewide economic development plan requires the input from state, county and community stakeholders.

    Those who are concerned about the future of Hawaii have come together in an effort to thoughtfully review the purpose of EDAH and align its core competencies to develop economic opportunities in the state.

    Participation included members from all counties and represented labor, non-profit organizations, private industry, academic institutions and other concerned interests.

     

    Economic Landscape

    The Islands’ economy was once largely dependent on plantation agriculture. However, today that industry has waned, the last sugar plantation having shut down in 2016. Tourism and military spending are the main drivers of the state’s economy. While these sectors have contributed greatly to the economic survival of the Hawaiian Islands, increased worldwide competition and a weakened global economy have resulted in limited prospects for growth and created economic uncertainty in the Islands.

    Economic diversity has been embraced as a method to counteract these negative trends. Diversification can stabilize the economy, mitigate the effects of external threats and disperse economic risks. A diverse economy is better able to tolerate significant negative external events, and recover or respond with resiliency.

     

    Need for Sustainability

    The indigenous people of Hawaii provided a valuable example of the importance of sustainable practices in the Islands. For more than a thousand years, Hawaiians thrived on the land using only sustainable methods. They respected the environment and honored the land and its resources, just as their ancestors and elders did before them.

    However, today Hawaii’s residents are more dependent than ever on overseas resources and the conveniences provided by modern society. But this convenience has come with a steep price – Hawaii now imports significantly more than it produces, resulting in a $3 billion trade deficit, largely due to expenditures on food and energy.

    Over time, sustainability has been defined differently within and among cultures. In English, the term was first identified around 1727, the year Sir Isaac Newton died. The Industrial Revolution had begun and engineers were developing technologies that required thoughtful consideration of sustainability.

    Today, increasing numbers of Hawaii residents are recognizing the urgent need to return to sustainable practices, not only to decrease the state’s dependency on external forces, but also to build a future for its citizens.

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sustainability as:

    “… of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.”

    A more widely used definition of sustainability can be traced back to the 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development report, “Our Common Future.” Here, sustainability is defined as:

    “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

    – G.H. Brundtland (Chair), Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press, New York, 1987.

    The Brundtland Report, as the Commission later became known, defined the concept of sustainability to encompass ideas, aspirations and values, which continue to inspire public and private organizations to become better stewards of the environment. In this context, sustainable practices can promote positive environmental stewardship as well as economic outcomes and achieve social objectives by stimulating technological innovation, advancing competitiveness and improving the quality of life.

    Sustainable development marries three important themes: that environmental protection does not preclude economic development, that economic development must be ecologically viable now and in the long run, and that economic activities must be in harmony with both social and cultural matters.

    Businesses that measure their performance according to these three principles (rather than by profit alone) are said to follow the Triple Bottom Line. With ratification by the United Nations in 2007, this method has become the dominant approach of public sector full cost accounting.

    Hawaii is the world’s most geographically isolated land mass and EDAH embraces the return to sustainable practices as an essential component of economic development in Hawaii.

    Despite 300 years of progress, this issue is as relevant today as in the past.


    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

     

    What is the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH)?

    The Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. EDAH works with the public and private sectors and community-based organizations and individuals to spur economic growth and sustainability throughout the State of Hawaii.

    Who leads EDAH?

    EDAH is led by a Board of Directors comprised of representatives from the four county Economic Development Boards (EDBs), the Hawaii Business Roundtable, the business community and the University of Hawaii.

    What can EDAH do for Hawaii?

    EDAH identifies opportunities and challenges in our economy, develops strategies for addressing them, and implements solutions through the EDBs in conjunction with community partners. EDAH can also serve community-based initiatives by serving as a fiscal sponsor for projects. EDAH’s network spans across government, business, academia, and community organizations enabling us to connect people and entities with mutual interests.

    How is EDAH funded?

    EDAH is funded through contracts and grants from the public and private sectors and private foundations.

    Is EDAH a government agency?

    No, EDAH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The public sector at the county, state, and federal levels who have an interest in contributing to building a vibrant Hawaii economy are longstanding and ongoing partners.

    Why was EDAH created?

    EDAH was created to strengthen collaboration and communication among the four Economic Development Boards in Hawaii and broaden their opportunities. The EDBs recognized their knowledge and understanding of their local communities brought tremendous value in developing a Hawaii economy that was equitable and in harmony with the uniqueness of its people and cultures. Tapping their collective reach statewide also increased their effectiveness in dealing with policies and programs statewide.

    What is the economic development planning process in Hawaii?

    Economic development and planning in the State of Hawaii is an ongoing, systematic process that occurs in each of the four counties of the State of Hawaii. It is a regionally-owned, community planning process designed ultimately to build economic capacity, prosperity and resilience in each county.

    How does the economic process work?

    Each county engages individuals, government, private industry, educational institutions, and non-profit and community based organizations in dialogue to identify opportunities and threats and determine strategies that provide economic growth through diversity, resilience, and sustainability at the local county level.

    What is EDAH’s role in economic development planning?

    The Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii convenes stakeholders throughout the State of Hawaii to review statewide opportunities and threats and develop strategies to capitalize on the opportunities and mitigate the threats. The statewide strategies are then prioritized and aligned with the individual county economic development plans.