The Z & A for 350 Carbon Offset Initiative, coordinated by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), is in place to help zoos and aquariums that have already reduced their carbon footprint as much as possible to compensate for their institutions’ unavoidable carbon emissions through the purchase of credible, additional, and sustainable carbon offsets.
Many zoos and aquariums have taken important steps to evaluate their carbon footprint and minimize it, including innovative waste management systems, energy conservation measures, and updated buildings. Guides like BIAZA’s Sustainability Guide and AZA’s Green Guide can be helpful for zoos looking to begin and continue these changes.
To aid zoos and aquariums worldwide in compensating for their institutions’ unavoidable carbon emissions, Z&A for 350 will partner with a carbon offset provider that supports projects that are credible, that would not have taken place without the investment in offsets, and that are economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally friendly. In all cases, the investments made will be for projects that are validated under an internationally accepted performance standard. The projects selected will be compatible with WAZA’s mission and focus on threatened species and related habitats, with preference given to tropical rainforest projects. More information about this offset provider will be available soon.
Participating institutions will report back to WAZA on their commitment to reduce and offset their carbon emissions. The statement that one zoo makes by becoming carbon neutral is powerful – the statement that a group of zoos makes is even more so. The strength of this initiative is in the collective effort of, and the example set by, the international zoo and aquarium community. Those institutions working with the z&A for 350-identified offset provider will automatically have their achievements recorded. Those offsetting independently are encouraged to report their progress to WAZA as well. This way the true impact of this ambitious commitment by our community will be fully recognized.
Want to know more about Carbon Offsetting? Visit the FAQ Page.
Five Steps to Offset Carbon
1) Commit to the Climate Change Movement Carbon Offset Initiative. Zoos will be at many different levels of carbon reduction in their institutions. No matter where you are, you can commit that your institution will:
- Measure current carbon emissions using online calculators or using an offset provider to help you with a carbon audit.
- Create a climate action plan for reducing emissions by updating infrastructure, implementing new waste management systems, and developing energy conservation measures for your zoo.
- Get everyone involved, from the director on down, through education and opportunities to participate. Sustainability must include everyone.
- Use the AZA Green Guide and BIAZA Sustainability Guide for getting started, and research zoo sustainability initiatives that you would like to implement at your own zoo.
To make your commitment, Join the Movement.
2) Calculate Remaining Emissions.
Some zoos might already be ready to offset after marked efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, others might just be getting started. A number of online calculators can help you determine the emissions that remain after reduction and sustainability efforts.
3) Work with the Z&A for 350-Approved Carbon Offset Provider. Z&A for 350 is working to select an offset provider that will work with zoos and aquariums at any part of the process, whether on reducing carbon emissions, measuring what remains, or offsetting remaining emissions. More information about this provider will soon be available.
4) Achieve Carbon Neutrality. After hard work and time, your zoo may become carbon neutral. This step is likely years down the road, but Z&A for 350 will be ready to report on your success when the time comes.
5) Communicate. The statement that one zoo makes by going carbon neutral is powerful – the statement that a group of zoos makes is even more so. So when you’ve decided to pursue carbon offsetting, be sure to report back to Z&A for 350 on your efforts (method for reporting will be available soon). Let’s show the world that the international zoo and aquarium community is a leader in environmental sustainability.