Sustainability in the Zoo & Aquarium World

The central mission of zoos and aquariums to conserve animals and their natural habitats is highly aligned with the philosophy behind sustainability. Sustainability focuses on conserving and minimizing the use of natural resources as well as minimizing the impact of human activities on the environment. Zoos have a great opportunity and platform to educate the public about the relationship between human activities and the natural world, and how those activities specifically impact (for good or bad) the animals and habitats featured in the zoo or aquarium.

Zoos also often have many unrealized opportunities to improve their own operations to become a model steward and demonstrate conservation behaviors that support the animals in their care. The extent to which zoos are taking advantage of these opportunities is increasing as more and more zoos add to their sustainability programs, and we are beyond delighted to be working with three zoos/aquariums throughout the country.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

Our work with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium began in 2012 with the creation of their first ever Sustainability Master Plan. Upon its completion, we extended our partnership with the Zoo to help lead the implementation and execution of the plan. It’s a role we’ve been playing ever since.

Whether we’re facilitating the Zoo’s energy and water management team, helping their robust green team ideate and implement their next big engagement event, re-imagining their waste/recycling collection system, or planning a photovoltaic solar array, we are involved in nearly all of the zoo’s efforts to be more sustainable. And despite significant increases in the zoo’s footprint, we have been able to help them keep their energy consumption flat and dramatically decrease their water consumption.

Want to learn more? Here’s our Henry Doorly case study.

The Dallas Zoo.

We are in the process of helping the Dallas Zoo create their first sustainability master plan. Interest and engagement in the process to create the plan has been very high: 70% of the Dallas Zoo’s employees and board members responded to our Sustainability Engagement Survey, which is one of the highest response rates we have ever seen! We will deliver the final plan in April 2020, but the Dallas Zoo isn’t waiting to get started. We’ve helped them identify several early wins, and they have already started implementation.

The Seattle Aquarium.

Our newest zoo and aquarium client, we are partnering with the Seattle Aquarium to create their first sustainability master plan as well. They’re not new to the sustainability world, however. The greenhouse gas inventory we just completed revealed that they are net positive when it comes to scope 1 and 2 emissions! Given their exemplary track record, their sustainability master plan will extend beyond the more traditional elements of energy, water, materials, transportation and engagement, and will meaningfully explore deeper, more sophisticated aspects of sustainability such as environmental justice.

We are beyond excited about our work in the zoo and aquarium world and are excited to spread our wings to new locations. Interested? Give us a shout at or 402-681-9458.

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