Categorized | Business

‘Guru of green business’ at Kuleana Business Conference


The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s Kuleana Business Conference & Trade Show is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. May 6 at Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa. Registration deadline is April 30.

Sponsored by Puna Geothermal Venture, the fourth annual event features a stellar lineup of experts in various green business arenas.

Headlining the conference is Joel Makower, author of “Strategies for the Green Economy” and owner of leading national websites in the field, including, and

The cornerstone event of KKCC’s Kuleana Green Business Program, the Kuleana Business Conference & Trade Show has become the “premier green business event in the state,” attracting business owners, employees and residents who wish to increase their interest in responsible products and services and learn how to shift their operations towards sustainability.

This year, the tradeshow in the adjacent convention center ballroom, will be free and open to the public from 8 a.m.- 6 p.m., enabling residents and attendees to examine the innovative companies displaying green products and services. Kona Brewing Company is sponsoring the conference pau hana beginning at 4 p.m.

The conference will be a zero-waste event, an effort to model ways that the business community can improve its operations in the area of environmental stewardship. Attendees will also be able to offset their carbon used to get to the event via True Offsets, a Big Island reforestation initiative.

Two high-profile speakers from the mainland will be part of the presentation lineup. 

Don Shaffer, chief executive officer of RSF Social Finance — which provides socially responsible investing, lending, and philanthropic services through its $100 million portfolio — will share his insights on emerging green sectors and the details of being a triple-bottom-line company. 

The former executive director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Schaffer also founded Comet Skateboards, a solar-powered facility that uses only sustainably harvested woods and water-based paints and sealers.

Mike Kane, founder of the nation’s leading advocate for electric vehicles, Plug In America, will also share insights on the emerging clean energy infrastructure.

The conference will explore several key issues facing the Big Isle through panels on Renewable Energy, Sustainable Agriculture and Green Development. Panelists include representatives from such businesses as Whole Foods, New Energy Partners, Roth Ecological Design, Pacific Biodiesel, Friendly Aquaponics, Slow Foods Hawaii and others. 

They will address the island’s future in the areas of increasing agricultural opportunities, biofuels, geothermal and hydrogen power, LEED projects, island food security, agroforestry, biological wastewater treatment, green Hawai‘i start-ups, and the new Eco-Broker® real estate designation.

During the organic, locally-sourced luncheon, the Chamber’s Kuleana Committee will present the 2009 Kuleana Award for exceptional socially responsible business leadership in West Hawaii. 

Past recipients have included Kahua Ranch, Kona Brewing Company, and Natural Investments.

The Fourth Annual Kuleana Business Conference & Trade Show is sponsored by Shell Vacations Hawaii, Unified Field Corporation, Hawaii County Research & Development, Councilman Pete Hoffman, Kona Brewing Company, The Kohala Center, Natural Investments LLC, Andrea Dean LLC, H2 Technologies, Hawaii Health Guide, Hawaii Skylights and Solar Fans, Hudnut Company, Jack’s Diving Locker, James Kent & Associates, Kohala Coffee Mill, Kona Earth Festival, MacArthur & Company/Sotheby’s International Realty, Pacific Biodiesel, R&R Roofing, Sustainable Island Products, Tinguely Development, Lynn VanLeeuwen & Associates Green Business Coaching, Volcano Island Honey Company, Woodbury Green Building Consultation, KWXX Radio.

Cost to attend the conference is $50 for Chamber members and includes lunch, $60 for non-members. 

To register for the conference, visit For additional information, contact Michael Kramer, Natural Investments LLC, at 331-0910.

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