We believe this is an important project for Hawaii and its people. Understanding our quality of life – both the good and the bad – is an important step toward improving it. Our goal is to spread this vital information as broadly as possible, and for that we are grateful to our sponsors for the financial support we needed.
The Hawaiian Electric Companies are again pleased to support Hawaii Business magazine’s Quality of Life report. Our companies have proudly served Hawai‘i for over 120 years. Today, our 2,700 employees continue to take seriously their responsibility to ensure the highest possible quality of life for our communities.
The first step to improving as a society is understanding just how we’re doing in all facets of it. Knowing our strengths, acknowledging our weaknesses and identifying the right path forward is a process all of us in business know well. This starts with the kind of valuable information assembled by Hawaii Business in this special report – real data to inform meaningful action.
At the Hawaiian Electric Companies, we are mindful every single day that we provide a service that’s essential to the quality of life in our islands.
And we’re quite aware that we – more so than perhaps any other business in Hawai‘i – touch virtually every person in the state, from the public to private sector, homes to workplaces, schools to institutions. Addressing energy issues takes input from all stakeholders.
As an island community, we need to rely on each other to build the kind of healthy, sustainable future we all want for our home. Whether it’s working to build a clean energy future or strong schools or affordable housing, these are issues that affect us all.
Every person is a potential contributor to making the special place we call Hawai‘i a better place to live.
This Quality of Life special report is a welcome reminder of this responsibility and mission we all share.
Dick M. Rosenblum
President & CEO
Hawaiian Electric Company
As a sponsor of Hawaii Business magazine’s inaugural Quality of Life Report in 2011, Bank of Hawaii is pleased to continue its support of this second edition.The initial report established important benchmarks resulting from studies of six social and economic issues (economy, health, education, environment, housing and homelessness, and crime and communities), which have helped influence the direction of our state. It is the only consolidated study of its kind and will serve to document our quality of life over time.
This second report builds upon and updates the original report to reflect current conditions and challenges.
As a community bank, Bank of Hawaii has a unique perspective on the impacts each of the issues has on families and the communities we serve statewide. We also know from our community involvement that change will only come if we tackle our common challenges together. It is important to keep a spotlight on these issues since they are in many ways interconnected.
The report is an essential reference providing a roadmap to guide us as we work to build strong, healthy communities. The results of the research describe our quality of life vividly and in unsparing terms. At the same time it serves to inspire each of us to step off the sideline and get involved in helping to ensure a bright future for Hawaii. We all have a shared responsibility to ensure we keep Hawaii a very special place.
Chairman, President and CEO
Bank of Hawaii
Hawaii Business’ community report delivers the sound information and thoughtful analysis needed to make smart decisions. It offers a revealing look at our state’s economy as we emerge from years of recession. It shows how well our schools are educating the next generation, the physical health of our communities, and many more key factors that shape our way of life in Hawaii.As much as this report is based on fact, it’s also full of optimism. Its goal is to empower people by giving them relevant and easy-to-understand information about Hawaii’s current state and the many ways we can improve our islands. We share that goal at HMSA as we work to explain the complicated world of health care to everyone in plain and simple language.
I hope you’ll devote time to reading through this report and consider how you can apply its information and spirit of improving Hawaii to your community.
Michael A. Gold
President and Chief Executive Officer
Hawaii is undergoing a transformation at an accelerated pace. It is vital that we confront the challenge such change brings with the courage to adapt. But will we be able to do so while still embracing the cultural values of the past that made our State a uniquely desirable place to live and work? That spirit of Aloha was once real and more than a marketing slogan. It reflected a sense of responsibility for the well-being of our community.Our State has an admirable history of businesses and community leaders working together to improve social conditions throughout our community. Much of the data in this report reflects the fruits of such past efforts. But the research also shows that we have fallen short in many areas of social need. We hope the 2014 Quality of Life Report serves as a catalyst for solution-oriented discussions on the most critical issues facing Hawaii today.
Our company was founded nearly 75 years ago to fill a void in the insurance marketplace – to provide local families and businesses with affordable insurance options that were not being offered by the established insurers of that time. As Island Insurance has continued to grow through periods of dynamic change in our State, its founding principle of serving the people of Hawaii has remained steadfast
throughout the decades. In this spirit of helping others, we look forward to our continued involvement in Hawaii’s community and working together to improve the quality of life for future generations.
Colbert M. Matsumoto
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Island Insurance Company, Ltd.
You don’t have to be an economist to know that Hawaii’s natural environment is its greatest asset. It’s the engine that drives our tourist-based economy, a source of cultural renewal and recreational opportunity, and a provider of vital services that technology can never replace.Tourism is the primary—but not only—beneficiary of this extraordinary natural wealth. Many of the Hawaii’s other key industries—scientific research, agriculture, fishing, forestry, filmmaking and biotechnology—depend on healthy natural resources.
Every resident and visitor benefits from the diverse services our environment provides. Natural systems like forests supply us with fresh water, control erosion, regulate climate and clean the air we breathe. Coral reefs provide habitat for healthy fisheries, buffer coastal communities against storms and high waves, and help create sand and surf.
Regrettably, many of us take these benefits for granted, viewing our natural resources as free and inexhaustible rather than as critical infrastructure that must be maintained. Hawaii’s near shore fish populations are a quarter of what they were a century ago, the islands have lost half their native forest cover, and Hawaii has the worst invasive species problems in the nation.
Natural systems are like human beings. They suffer from long-term exposure to stress. If the threats are not removed, they become increasingly susceptible to invasion, disease, fragmentation, temperature and chemical changes and, finally, collapse.
When we allow our environment to degrade, we lose the important ecological benefits it provides, as well as a big part of the collective natural and cultural heritage of our islands. The quality of our environment and the quality of our own life are diminished. So, too, is the quality of life that we pass on to our children.
The health of Hawaii’s environment, economy and people are intimately linked. Indeed, when it comes to ensuring our future, safeguarding Hawaii’s environment may be the most important investment we can make.