Alexander & Baldwin Reduced Its Carbon Footprint Amid COVID-19

July 7, 2020 in Sustainability

A&B President & CEO, Christopher Benjamin, talked with Nareit in connection with its REITweek: Virtual Investor Conference, held June 2-4, 2020. He discussed A&B’s response to COVID-19, and indicated that A&B was able to demonstrate many of its historic environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strengths, including its commitment to its community and employees.

Alexander & Baldwin Reduced Its Carbon Footprint Amid COVID-19

Originally published on

Christopher Benjamin, president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin (NYSE: ALEX), participated in a video interview in conjunction with Nareit’s REITweek: Virtual Investor Conference (held June 2-4).

Click here to view the video

Benjamin said that because Hawaii is an isolated chain of islands, it was able to do a great job of containing COVID-19 by cutting off the flow of tourists entering the state. With tourism vital to Hawaii’s economy though, and with Alexander & Baldwin serving as the largest owner of grocery and drug-anchored retail in the state, he said the challenge now is how to approach reopening in a safe manner.

“The good news is we can open up locally and remain very safe,” he said. “We have essentially a safe travel bubble between the islands that we can operate in.”

Benjamin said that COVID-19 has allowed Alexander & Baldwin to demonstrate many of its historic environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strengths, including its commitment to its community and employees, while also allowing the REIT to strengthen other areas like reducing its carbon footprint. He said that as a founding member of the Hawaii Sustainability Business Forum, Alexander & Baldwin has been involved in the discussion about how to preserve and protect environmental advances that have been made due to COVID-19.

Benjamin added that Alexander & Baldwin’s tenants range from essential businesses to national brands to local companies, so the REIT has been having one-on-one conversations with tenants to best keep them apprised throughout the pandemic.

Benjamin also said that all of Alexander & Baldwin’s centers were open as of late May and that the REIT was collecting the majority of its rent, but that some tenants inevitably won’t be able to weather the financial hardship.

“An interesting potential play [though] is the notion of de-urbanization as people go to more remote working,” he said. “We’re certainly going to be very focused on identifying those shifts that take place as a result of COVID-19…and try to take advantage of [them] in our portfolio.”

Donut King Open for Business at Kailua Shopping Center

May 12, 2020 in Sustainability

Despite the turbulent times, the owners of Donut King Hawaii forged ahead and opened their latest donut store at Alexander & Baldwin’s Kailua Shopping Center, where they have been warmly welcomed by customers.

Donut King Open for Business at Kailua Shopping Center

Originally published in The Star-Advertiser

Donut King, a family-owned business, opened its doors at Kailua Shopping Center at 6 a.m. today to a line of customers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The shop, which occupies the space formerly occupied by Grylt at the center, is the second location for Donut King, which has a location at Market City Shopping Center in Kaimuki.

Family member Sophy Son said she was “very happy” that the store was able to open this morning after receiving clearance from a virtual inspection by the Hawaii Department of Health. The lease for the space had been signed before the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders began, according to property owner Alexander & Baldwin.

The donuts are hand-prepared and cut every morning, and popular hits, including the maple bacon donuts, were available, along with sprinkled donuts, glazed twists and croissants.

Kaipolani Fake of Kailua saw that the shop was open on her way back from a walk on the beach, and decided to pick some up on the way home.

She agreed that donuts were essential.

“Absolutely, especially for Kailua,” she said. “I miss having fresh donuts in Kailua. We got our workout in already, and donuts make people happy.”

She said she missed Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop, which closed in 2018 after nearly 50 years in business, as well as Craig’s Bakery which was open decades ago.

Emalia Cobb-Adams of Kailua stood in line, as well, after hearing through friends that it was opening.

“I’m excited to try it,” said Cobbadams. “The last one I really remember was Agnes’ and then Craig’s before that, We need a good mom-and-pop shop.”

The Kailua Donut King shop will be open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for the time being. Visit or follow @donutkinghawaii on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Sustainability Business Forum

December 14, 2019 in Sustainability

Alexander & Baldwin is proud to be a member of the Hawaii Sustainability Business Forum (SBF), a group of businesses that are working together to shape a sustainable future for Hawaiʻi.  The SBF is committed to a triple-bottom-line approach (economy, environment, community) and to advance the goals of the Aloha+ Challenge.

One example of the actions being taken by the SBF is the Kona Hema project.  A&B is one of the subgroups within the SBF that is partnering with The Nature Conservancy Hawaiʻi to invest in Hawaiʻi’s first carbon offset project. Carbon offsets are a market-based mechanism that creates a revenue stream to support investment in Hawaiʻi’s natural resources. A number of landowners are considering or developing carbon offset projects in Hawaiʻi and are looking to this project for a price signal (8,000 acre forest improvement project, anticipated 120,000 ACR certified credits available for sale in 2020).

In addition, the SBF has instituted the “Green Your Business Initiative” — a set of actions for SBF members to lead by example on the holistic set of Aloha+ Challenge Goals. As the first step, 11 SBF members are now tracking energy use and efficiency savings of selected corporate buildings enrolled in Hawaiʻi Energyʻs CEI (Continuous Energy Improvement) Program on the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard, an open-data platform for transparency and accountability.



Lau Hala Shops in Kailua Town welcomes latest tenant and reaches full occupancy

November 19, 2019 in Sustainability

Alexander & Baldwin is pleased to announce that Lau Hala Shops, the newest community-focused gathering place in Kailua Town, has reached full occupancy with the opening of its latest tenant, Uproll Café.

Known for its innovative take on sushi burritos and pick-your-protein customizable bowls, Up Roll Café opened its doors for customers on Friday, Nov. 15. The company also serves customers at its locations in Kakaako and Pearl Highlands Center.

Lau Hala Shops, a 46,000 square-foot retail center, opened in late 2018 with three initial tenants: UFC Gym, Maui Brewing Company and Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Goen Dining + Bar. They have since been joined by an appealing mix of local and retailers that complement and support the healthy, active lifestyles of Kailua residents, including:

  • Down to Earth: Retailer of organic & natural foods since 1977;
  • D’Vine Kailua Wine Bar: Wine room with self-serve wine tasting, including Old World and New World wines of the month;
  • Kailua Xchng: A new concept in trendy, handmade clothing using unique textiles, prints and designs.
  • Crazy Shirts: Distinctive t-shirt designs that reflect the exuberant Island lifestyle;
  • Waxing the City: Facial and body waxing studio;

Lau Hala Shops reflects A&B’s commitment to sustainability. An adaptive reuse of the former Macy’s building, it includes features such as:

  • Energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems;
  • Electric vehicle charging stations; “Big Belly” solar-powered trash compacting bins;
  • Sustainable public art crafted by local Kailua artist using plastic waste collected during an A&B-sponsored beach clean-up event in Kailua;
  • Environmentally-friendly landscaping with 18 types of indigenous and endemic native Hawaiian plants.

A&B Corporate Building Celebrates 90 Years

October 1, 2019 in Sustainability

The architectural expression of a triumph of human courage, ingenuity, energy and faith over obstacles, seen and unseen, which beset the pioneers of industrial Hawaii.” – Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 30, 1929.

Ninety years ago, the Alexander & Baldwin Building celebrated its grand opening. Today, our headquarters serves as an enduring reflection of quintessentially Hawaiian architecture designed by Will Dickey and his associate, Hart Wood. Come take a look at the building’s exterior: a study of diversity in architectural design, with beautifully preserved tile murals depicting Hawaiian coral reefs and grand portico columns featuring Chinese ornamentation and tropical fruit motifs. Inside, the building has evolved over time to meet the needs of our growing company and is now a bustling environment for over 100 employees, with energy-efficient fixtures that have earned it an Energy Star designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The A&B Building is also listed on the Hawaii and National Register of Historic Places. We’re incredibly lucky to celebrate 90 years in this remarkable building, with its rich heritage and iconic presence in downtown Honolulu.

hawaiiarchitecture historichawaii honolulu downtownhonolulu hawaiibusiness alexanderbaldwin

A&B’s Kokua in Kailua

July 15, 2019 in Sustainability

A&B continues to engage with the Kailua community through sponsorship of popular community events. Over the past four months, A&B has underwritten three large-scale Kailua events, underscoring A&B’s commitment to community partnerships and engagement.

“I Love Kailua” Town Party
On Sunday, April 28, the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle (LKOC) hosted the 27th annual “I Love Kailua” Town Party in downtown Kailua. The event featured live entertainment, local vendors, artisans & crafters, community organizations, keiki activities, plant sales and food booths. The block party has been held in downtown Kailua since 1993, and the LKOC was grateful for A&B’s partnership and support again this year. The company has been sponsoring this event since acquiring the Kailua properties in 2014. This year, A&B provided grant and in-kind support exceeding $10,000 and hosted a booth at the event. A&B employees interacted with nearly 1,000 members of the Kailua community on that sunny Sunday afternoon!

Steve Mechler, president of The Outdoor Circle, presented a Beatification Award to A&B Asset Manager Sheila-Anne Ebert at the “I Love Kailua” Town Party on April 28.

At the event, the Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle also presented A&B with a “Beautification Award” in recognition of the landscaping for the Davis Building at the entrance to Kailua. On the certificate, they note the greenery “enhances the
community’s experience as they enter the town [they] call home.”

Symphony in the Park
In May, A&B once again partnered with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra to bring music to the people of Kailua. “Symphony in the Park” is a free, family-friendly concert in Kailua District Park with a full symphonic orchestra. This year, the
event was held on May 31 and featured music selections from the HSO’s Halekulani Masterworks and musicthatPOPs series. A&B supported HSO with a $10,000 grant to sponsor the concert and provided raffle prizes from local Kailua businesses.

This popular event draws in hundreds of Kailua community members every year who spread out lawn chairs and picnic blankets to enjoy the performance.

A&B also funded the HSO’s “Windward Outreach Program” to bring musical ensembles to schools and senior centers throughout Windward Oahu. Hundreds of students, teachers, and residents enjoyed the performances immensely. A&B’s
Kokua Giving Program also provided a $150 grant to school music programs at each ensemble performance. The goal of HSO’s Windward Outreach Program is to bring music to Windward Oahu and inspire a love of music in keiki and kupuna.

Strings, brass, percussion and woodwind ensembles from the Symphony traveled to different Windward Oahu schools and care homes for special performances.

Kailua Fireworks and Air Show
This is the sixth year that A&B partnered with the Kailua Fireworks Corporation to sponsor the Kailua July 4th Fireworks and Twilight Air Show. For over 70 years, Kailua Beach has been the location for the most popular 4th of July fireworks
display on Windward Oahu. This beloved event draws hundreds of community members, many of whom have made watching this show a family holiday tradition. A&B served as a “Platinum” level sponsor with a cash donation and
tremendous in-kind assistance, opening up our retail parking lots to the community and providing complimentary shuttle service to Kailua Beach.

Jana Holden of the Kailua Fireworks Corporation said, “In the past, the Kailua Fireworks display was at risk of ending due to a shortage of funds and volunteer event organizers. Support from A&B and many other sponsors ensures the fabulous fireworks show, a tradition for many Kailua families, will continue.”

Last Native Lowland Bog ‘Thriving’

July 13, 2019 in Sustainability

In 2003, Alexander & Baldwin and The Nature Conservancy signed a 10-year pact to protect the 80-acre Kanaele Bog in east Kaua‘i – a one-of-a-kind community of native Hawaiian plants that was the only well-preserved low-elevation bog remaining in the Hawaii. This was the first of three partnerships between A&B and The Conservancy over the past 15 years create some of the largest private nature reserves in Hawaii. A recent story published in the Garden Isle shares recent restoration effort by The Conservancy to ensure the native lowland bog is thriving.

View Garden Isle Story – Last Native Lowland Bog ‘Thriving’

*Photo Credit:Nathan Yuen/TNC

A&B Pride 2019

June 26, 2019 in Sustainability

The following is an interview of A&B employee Gail Abrena-Agas, written by fellow A&B employee Robbie Rhead.

On May 31, A&B announced at a company town hall the formation of A&B Pride to kick off national Pride Month, as well as the company’s newly established Diversity & Inclusion initiative. Gail Abrena-Agas, an A&B employee who helped establish A&B Pride, discussed the origin of the group and why it’s important to embrace diversity in the company.

How and why was A&B Pride started?

A&B Pride was established by employees for employees as an engagement, resource and social group. It is intended to create cohesion and solidarity among LGBTQ+ employees, allies and supporters who recognize a need to connect with one another and with our community. We’re recognizing that workplace diversity brings value to our business and overall experience. We want to foster an environment where employees from different backgrounds, schools of thought, and beliefs are comfortable collaborating and sharing their unique perspectives. When employees are comfortable bringing their whole selves to work, sharing ideas and collaborating is exciting and dynamic. We want to celebrate what makes everyone proud to be who they are.

I’m proud to be part of a 150-year-old, kama’āina company that is enthusiastically embracing diversity. The hope is that being open to supporting an evolving company culture can help A&B thrive for another 150 years.

What has A&B Pride done so far, and what do you hope to see in the future?

So far, A&B Pride has received an overwhelming amount of internal support, most of all from our executive leadership who understand how these sorts of initiatives align with our company vision, mission and values. People across different departments have reached out to express their excitement about what we’re doing, and about ways that we can keep the momentum going. More than half of the employees in the corporate office participated in a rainbow group photo on our historical steps (shown above). It was so meaningful, especially for someone like me who, prior to A&B, had never felt 100% comfortable sharing my full background and story. Many have already volunteered to walk with A&B Pride in October’s Honolulu Pride Parade and have offered their help in organizing. It’s truly inspiring.

A&B Pride was started as an internal initiative. Do you foresee this having an impact externally within the community?

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I understand how important it is to feel represented and seen. A hope of mine is that while we’re building this group internally, community members outside of the company see and recognize that we support them. It’s always been A&B’s legacy to partner with the community, and we want to continue to expand that to all of Hawai’i.