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Carbon Management and Carbon Neutrality
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 under the Australian Government’s 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.
Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve Project
This project aims to reduce emissions by protecting 64,977 hectares of tropical peat swamp forest from conversion to oil palm in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. The project area is classified as ‘High Conservation Value’ with populations of the endangered Bornean orang-utan, Clouded Leopard, Gibbon, Probiscis Monkey and Asian Sun Bear. The project works in partnership with the Orangutan Foundation International and physically provides a buffer zone to Tanjung Putting National Park. Funds from the project are also used for community development such as employment, sustainable income, education, poverty eradication and the rights of children and women
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.
This project is located along the southern shore of Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba, and is the world’s largest forest conservation project, covering 785,000 hectares of forest. Over the last twenty years, one-third of Zimbabwe’s forests have been lost. Through the Kariba project, farmers are taught skills to sustainably increase the productivity of the land, which in turn prevents future clearing. As the deforested areas are given the chance to regenerate, this will create a new wildlife corridor between the adjacent national parks – encouraging the return of threatened species like the Black Rhino.
Principles for carbon reduction
- Consume less
- Be more efficient
- Don't waste
- Recycle everything
- Buy green
- Run carbon neutral events (such as Zoo Twilights)
- Use renewable energy
- Buy offsets