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Wellington Zoo leading the charge in sustainability

Thursday 8 March 2018

Wellington Zoo leading the charge in sustainability

Wellington Zoo continues to be a world leader for progressive zoos and aquariums and hopes to inspire other organisations to take a deeper look at sustainability within their institutions. Wellington Zoo Chief Executive, Karen Fifield has been selected to lead the team to develop a sustainability framework for progressive zoos and aquariums throughout the world. The Zoo has also taken steps to further lower its carbon footprint by adding an electric vehicle to its fleet, as well as looking at being more efficient with its energy consumption and waste management.

Karen was approached by World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) to become part of the team to develop a sustainability framework, as part of the global strategy frameworks for WAZA members. “I’m proud that Wellington Zoo as a progressive zoo, is leading the way in sustainability, and being recognised as an exemplary organisation that models sustainable practices with a holistic approach,” said Karen Fifield MNZM, Chief Executive Wellington Zoo.

“This framework will provide examples and targets for WAZA members on how to start their own sustainability journey, or build on what they are already doing. It’s a chance for us to network with other progressive zoos and aquariums across the world, work together and learn from each other.”

Wellington Zoo’s sustainable journey started more than ten years ago and since then, the Zoo has achieved its carboNZero certification for the fifth year running, added a 100% electric vehicle to its fleet, installed 48 solar panels, transitioned to an ethical uniform supplier and an ethical textile disposal organisation, increased the eco-sourced and sustainable products in the Zoo Shop, and switched to a carboNZero certified electricity retailer.

Wellington Zoo is currently in the process of transitioning to Ecotricity, New Zealand’s only carboNZero certified electricity retailer. “By switching to Ecotricity, it’s been estimated that we will reduce our carbon emissions by 70 tonnes per year which is a significant amount for the Zoo,” said Chris Jerram, General Manager Assets, Sustainability & Safety Wellington Zoo. “While our power bill may increase slightly, we are committed to reducing our emissions and it was an obvious choice to move to Ecotricity to help us achieve our continual emissions reduction targets.”

The Zoo is replacing lights throughout the Zoo with LED bulbs, installing additional solar panels, and finding the most efficient way to compost the Zoo’s green waste. “We are working on a feasibility study which was funded by The Waste Minimisation Fund from the Ministry for the Environment, to assess the best way for us to compost as our current purpose built compostor is around ten years old,” said Chris. “This study is important to the Zoo as it will ultimately help us to reduce the amount of waste we’re sending to landfill.”

“Reducing the Zoo’s carbon emissions and impact on the environment is important to our goal of saving animals in the wild,” said Karen. “Sustainability is a journey, it never ends, and we’re proud to be leading the way in this area and showcasing our environmentally conscious practices. We hope by sharing our journey with the zoo and aquarium profession and other organisations, we will spark the conversation about what other people can do to reduce their impact on the planet.”


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