Global warming, climate change and depletion of the world’s natural resources are critical environmental and public issues. Increasingly, we are seeing the impacts of climate change on our environment and the world's wildlife.
As a zoo-based conservation organisation, we take carbon management and reduction seriously.
Zoos Victoria’s Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary are now the first zoos in the world to be certified carbon neutral. Low Carbon Australia, on behalf of the Australian Government, has certified Zoos Victoria as carbon neutral against the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).
Zoos Victoria’s world-leading stance demonstrates its commitment to showing zoos internationally what they can do to reduce the environmental footprints of their own organisations.
Zoos Victoria’s carbon neutral certification milestone is also part of its commitment to inspire millions of visitors to live more sustainably and protect wildlife and the environment for future generations.
We have mapped out our emissions to get a holistic representation of where we can improve our practices - please see Carbon Reduction Activities map attached below.
Our actions for carbon reduction
Since 2008, Zoos Victoria has implemented an overarching Environmental Policy and Strategy to manage all environmental impacts associated with operating our zoos. Our Carbon Neutrality strategy uses the widely accepted Carbon Management Principles to reduce our emissions.
So far we have implemented a number of resource efficiency projects saving approximately 2,140 tonnes of CO2-e emissions per year. These projects include:
- lighting efficiency
- heating and cooling efficiency
- heat pump hot water systems
- small scale solar installations
- in-vessel composting of organics waste
- public organics waste collection and composting
- upgrading our glass at the butterfly house
Going forward, we will be looking to continue or resource efficiency programs to further reduce our operational impacts and our emissions. We will also be looking at developing renewable energy options on site to provide green power and efficiency savings to our zoos.
Possible renewable and energy efficiency options include:
- Solar PV at Zoos Victoria’s Corporate Office and above zoo exhibits
- Natural gas fired co-generation located at our zoos
Zoos Victoria has also invested in four Carbon Offsets projects that focus on preserving biodiversity:
Tasmanian Native Forest Protection Project
This is the first Australian project to be validated under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). It is located in the Central Highlands of Tasmania and it currently prevents 90,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. The project protects privately owned land with native forest cover from being logged. The project also conserves local biodiversity including the endangered Tasmanian Devil, Wedge-Tailed Eagle and Spotted Quoll. Other benefits also include reduced soil erosion, improved ground-water retention and income diversification for local landowners.
The Kasigau Corridor REDD Project Kenya – Phase II
This project secures a wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, covering 169,741 hectares of dryland forest. The corridor is critical for a range of species including the southernmost population of the Critically Endangered Grevy’s Zebra. Phase II works with communities to establish nurseries, build capacity and provide alternative livelihoods through job creation initiatives.
Borneo Rainforest Rehabilitation Project
This project is situated in Sabah, Malaysia and prevents 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Oil palm plantations and harvesting have led to rapid rates of deforestation in the area. This project enables the restoration of once logged and harvested land. It provides employment for 50 full-time local staff and protects an estimated 120 mammal species (including orang-utans, the Sun Bear and critically endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros) as well as 340 species of birds.
Madre de Dio Amazon REDD project
This project is located less than 30 km to the side of the new inter-oceanic road that unites Brazil with the Peruvian ports, in the Peruvian Amazon. Aiming to protect one of the most biodiversity rich areas in the world, this project works with indigenous communities dependant on the forest for their livelihoods whilst supporting the maintenance of a bio-diverse environment that supports a variety of threatened species including the Giant Anteater, Jaguars and two species of macaw.