Zoo gains bronze, silver, gold for green practice
AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL
15 June 2006
Zoo gains bronze, silver and gold for greener practice
Auckland Zoo is a step closer towards top international environmental best practice, having just gained Bronze, Silver and Gold Enviro-Mark accreditation.
Since 2001, the Zoo has completely revised its waste management practices, and focused intensively on reducing energy and water usage. As a result, energy consumption has reduced by 34%, water consumption by 55% and waste to landfill has reduced from an average of 25 tonnes/month to just 13 tonnes/month. While the Zoo currently recycles 50% of total waste, its goal is to increase that to 85% by 2009.
This accreditation recognises compliance, commitment to environmental best practice and continuous improvement. It brings the Zoo closer to gaining the highest of standards in environmental management – the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 14001. (The ISO 14001 came about through the Rio Summit on the Environment in the early 90s).
Auckland Zoo was the first organisation in New Zealand to monitor power and water use, using a web-based system called LiveData.
“LiveData has enabled us to quickly identify our high users of electricity and water, which we can then target with power-saving devices. We can also quickly identify any abnormalities in usage, and identify and then fix the likes of water leaks. It’s a very innovative and pro-active system,” says the Zoo’s Assets Manager, Andrew James.
“Conservation is at the heart of our role as a Zoo, and we’re absolutely committed to continuing to improve on our performance in sustainable practices,” says Auckland Zoo Director Glen Holland.
“In fact, the Zoo aims to be used as a benchmark for Auckland City, and to assist our partners with sustainable practices that enable us all to reduce our ecological footprint – our impact on the environment. It’s incredible to think that if everyone on earth used the same level of resources that we currently do in the Western world, we’d need three planets to support mankind! Reducing our footprint is the most powerful thing all of us in the Western world can do,” says Holland.
“The Zoo has really been walking the talk about caring for the environment, along with making significant contributions to native species breeding recovery programmes, and are to be heartily congratulated,” says Mayor of Auckland city Dick Hubbard. “Sustainability is a key issue for Auckland and, with our continuing growth in population, it’s going to become even more important. The Zoo’s a great example of what can be achieved with a strategic approach. I am sure others will take the lead from the Zoo and build on the city’s overall sustainability.”
Auckland Zoo is now working towards gaining Enviro-Mark Platinum and Diamond accreditation, as well as finalising its Environmental Management Strategy (EMS), to enable it to be eligible for ISO14001.
A very successful programme being run by the Zoo’s Education Service, designed to inspire young school students, is the award-winning Poo at the Zoo & You, based at the Zoo’s recycling station.