My Green IUCN Congress Guidebook

E komo mai (Welcome)!

Huge efforts are underway to make the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 as green and sustainable as possible. The goal is to have an event that’s plastic-free, paper-low and produces zero waste.

IUCN and our Hawaiʻi hosts have introduced a broad range of measures that aim to minimize waste, energy and water consumption,  carbon emissions and negative impacts on biodiversity (see IUCN’s Congress Sustainability Policy).

The success of these efforts depends on you! We’re calling on everyone attending the event – delegates, staff, volunteers, suppliers and service providers – to do all that they can to minimize their personal environmental footprint related to the IUCN Congress 2016 and to carry these ideas with you when you return home.

This guide outlines a wide range of clean, green and easy actions that we all can take to do our part.

Travel consciously


Fly economy class, fly direct and pack lightly to minimize carbon emissions resulting from your air travel to Hawai’i.

Please mitigate the carbon emissions resulting from your air travel by contributing to the IUCN Congress Carbon Mitigation Fund, which will be invested in the Cordillera Azul National Park Project in Peru. Cordillera Azul avoids an annual loss of 6,800 hectares of forest (equivalent to 7,500 football fields). If you mitigate your carbon through another programme, please fill in those details when you register for the Congress.


Use public transport

Speedi Shuttle offers a multi-person, multi-stop service from the airport to the Waikīkī area (where the official IUCN Congress hotels are). Prices start at 15.48USD for one way tickets, including two free bags. Travel time is approximately 45-60 minutes. Book your Speedi Shuttle tickets online now.  

TheBus, Honolulu’s public transportation service, will get you around Honolulu and to and from the airport. It takes about 45-60 minutes toget from the airport to the Waikīkī area (buses #19 & #20). Each trip (including two free transfers) costs $2.50 (exact change required). Download DaBus app for real-time updates or visit the TheBus website.


Many of the official hotels are within walking distance of the Hawai‘i Convention Center in Waikīkī, where the IUCN Congress is taking place. Restaurants, pharmacies, grocery stores and beaches are also within walking distance.


Rent a bike. Bicycle rental shops are common throughout Waikīkī.

Drive sustainably

Request a hybrid or electric vehicle from car rental agencies and carpool whenever possible. Sustainable car transport options include:
EcoCab Hawai‘i
Enterprise Car Share

Travelling between islands

Most travel between islands requires short flights. Hawaiian Airlines, ranked the second most fuel-efficient airline in the United States in a report from the International Council on Clean Transportation, offers inter-island flights.

Ferry service is only available between Maui and Lānaʻi and Maui and Molokaʻi.

Invasive species – help stop the spread

Hawaiʻi’s breathtaking native flora and fauna are threatened by a host of invasive species transported onto the islands by people. Learn about invasive species management in Hawaiʻi.

Bringing in or taking out plants and animals

All agricultural items, including food, plant material, sand and soil, must be declared on the Plants and Animals Declaration Form for domestic arrivals, or on the US Customs Declaration form for foreign arrivals for each person arriving in Hawaiʻi.

When leaving Hawaiʻi, the US Department of Agriculture enforces strict rules regarding the exportation of uninspected plants and animals to continental US. Your luggage and carry-on bags must pass a pre-flight screening for uninspected fruits and plants.

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death

Hawaiʻi’s native forests are dominated by ʻōhiʻa trees. Over the last five years, hundreds of thousands of these trees have been killed by a disease known as Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, caused by a fungus. There are several ways you can help stop the spread of this disease:

  • Don’t move ʻōhiʻa wood or ʻōhiʻa parts and don’t transport ʻōhiʻa among the islands.
  • Ensure that your baggage, clothing and shoes are free of insects (or other small animals), seeds, plant parts, soil and debris before and after each forest visit and each inter-island flight.
  • When possible, spray the soles of your shoes with 70% rubbing alcohol (available at local pharmacies) after brushing soil off, and wash your clothes with hot water and soap.

Eat local – sustainable choices

Eat locally-produced food to reduce your environmental impact and support local livelihoods.

  • Seek out restaurants that support local farmers, serve seasonal organic produce, meats from humanely raised animals and sustainably harvested seafood.
  • Shop at farmers’ markets or local markets. The best way to know how food was grown or prepared is to ask the farmers or salespeople. The markets usually have signs to indicate organic products. A list of Hawaiʻi’s farmers’ markets is available here.
  • Try some of Hawaiʻi’s traditional staple foods including kalo (taro), poi (pounded taro), paiai (undiluted poi), ‘ulu (breadfruit), ‘uala (sweet potato), and maiʻa (banana).
  • Opt for locally grown fruits such as lychee, mango, maiʻa (banana), citrus, pineapple, pitaya (dragonfruit), papaya, starfruit, lilikoi (passionfruit), and niu (coconut).
  • Choose local and/or organic wines, beers, and cocktails. Hawaiʻi has some great wineries, breweries, and distilleries that use sustainable practices.
  • If you are looking to eat freshly caught seafood, the best option is locally harvested, in-season seafood, supporting local fishers. A guide to picking sustainable seafood species can be found here

Look out for restaurants that display an Ocean Friendly Restaurants and/or Hawai‘i Green Business Program label. These restaurants have gone the extra mile. The Ocean Friendly Restaurants do not use styrofoam; use recyclable or compostable takeaway food containers ; provide only reusable tableware for dining inside the restaurants; and follow proper recycling practices.

Green accommodation

Stay at hotels with certified green credentials. A list of certified hotels is available on the IUCN Congress website. By choosing these hotels you can be sure that they are working to incorporate sustainability into their operations and you will reinforce best practices within the industry.

Further tips:

  • If you book a hotel with certified green credentials, let the management know that this was a deciding factor for you in selecting their property.
  • If you’re unable to book a certified hotel, you can still engage the management in dialogue about environmentally responsible operations and show there is customer demand for sustainable practices.
  • Choose a location that enables you to get around easily by public transport, bicycle and on foot during your stay. 

Learn how the IUCN and  the Hawaiʻi Green Business Program (HGBP) are leveraging the momentum around the #IUCNcongress to spur sustainability initiatives in the Hawai’i hotel industry.

At the IUCN Congress venue

BYOB/B Bring your own bag. Bring your own refillable water bottle.

IUCN strongly discourages the use of plastic bags and water bottles. These products will not be available at the Congress venue. Water stations will be located around the venue for free, quick and easy refills. Those without a reusable container can buy a selection of drinks sold in cans and glass bottles.

Go digital! Use the official IUCN Congress mobile application (app)

The IUCN Congress mobile app is central to the Green Congress drive to minimise the event’s environmental impact by offering an alternative to printed materials. All registered participants can use it to engage with other participants, create a personalised programme and navigate the Congress venue.

The desktop version is available online now and the downloadable mobile version will be available on the IUCN Congress mobile app page in August.

Consider using your mobile phone or tablet to take quick photos of exhibits, displays and information boards. Don't forget to look for downloadable material on IUCN Congress webspaces for individual events.

Reduce food waste

When ordering food, request portion sizes adapted to your appetite to help reduce food waste. Leftover food will be donated to local charities. And don’t be shy about asking. The food service professionals at the venue will expect to know your preference.

We're serving local food at #IUCNcongress! Find out more

Compost and recycle waste

Look for composting and recycling stations throughout the IUCN Congress venue and follow the directions for proper sorting and disposing of waste. Compostable material will be collected and sent for use on local farms.

Read about how we're using wasted food and compostable cutlery to make soil-enriching compost for local farms

Sustainable tourism

Mālama ‘āina means to take care of and give back to the land. The following suggestions can help you experience Hawai‘i while respecting mālama ‘āina.

  • Choose from 50 field excursions created specifically for Congress participants. These allow you to explore Hawaiʻi’s rare natural treasures while learning about on-the-ground conservation work from local experts.
  • Check out the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association list of certified tour groups that have exemplary records of sustainable operations.
  • Volunteer, research, donate! Conservation Connections is a collaboration of 23 government, cultural, educational, and non-profit organisations committed to preserving and protecting Hawaiʻi's natural resources. Find out how you can join the effort.

All of the Congress green efforts contribute to the Aloha + Challenge, Hawai‘i’s commitment to achieve six sustainability targets by 2030 that address the state’s most pressing environmental challenges: clean energy, local food production, natural resource management, solid waste reduction, smart sustainable communities, and green workforce and education. Find out more.

Marine wildlife viewing

Whether on the beach or in the water, ocean recreation in Hawaii can often include encounters with unique and charismatic marine wildlife, including threatened and endangered sea turtles, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, Hawaiian spinner dolphins, and other protected species of whales and dolphins. Please view marine wildlife responsibly to ensure your safety and their protection.

  • Give Hawaiian monk seals ample space and stay behind any roped off areas
  • View sea turtles on land and in the water from a respectful distance of 3 meters 
  • Remain at least 50 meters from spinner dolphins and other whales and dolphins
  • Do not do not chase, touch, or feed any marine life, including coral

For more information about viewing marine wildlife in Hawaii, please see the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's complete Marine Wildlife Viewing Guidelines and be sure to obey all posted signs near or on shore. 

Hiking safely and sustainably

Hawaiian forests are not like other forests—growth is very dense and those new to a trail may become disoriented. Accidents can happen when hikers leave the trail and disregard warning signs. 

Hikers should obey trail signage and be considerate of Hawaii’s unique natural environment that is home to many rare native plants and animals. You can do this by staying on established and sanctioned trails and limiting the spread of invasive weeds by scrubbing your boots after every hike, and starting each hike with clean boots.

For more information on hiking safely in Hawaii, please see

For detailed information about how to prevent the extinction of Hawaiʻi’s plants and help them recover from invasive species, consult IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Hawaiian Plant Specialist Group's Rare Plant Code of Conduct

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