The Zoo continues to be a world leader for progressive zoos and aquariums in sustainability after winning the inaugural World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Environmental Sustainability Award at the 73rd Annual WAZA Conference in Bangkok, last week.

Karen with WAZA Sustainability Award

Karen Fifield with WAZA Environmental Sustainability Award

Our Zoo is well-known across Australasia for its innovative and forward-thinking sustainable practices, but now the Zoo has had global recognition in this area and we are proud to be bringing home such a prestigious award.

“This award ceremony is a big deal within the global zoo and aquarium profession – it’s a bit like winning an Oscar!” says Karen Fifield, MNZM, Chief Executive at Wellington Zoo. “We feel honoured to be recognised for the work we are doing to reduce our impact on the environment. Sustainability is a journey, it never ends, but we are proud of the steps we have taken to reduce the Zoo’s carbon emissions and impact on the environment; as it is vital to our goal of saving animals in the wild.”

The Zoo has been an early adopter of sustainability efforts and according to WAZA Council member, Mike Barclay, Wellington Zoo was a deserving winner. 

“The Zoo had an outstanding application for this award due to their unwavering, long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability,” says Mr Barclay. “Wellington Zoo has been invited to share their sustainability story with other institutions on several occasions, and this has inspired other zoos, aquariums, and businesses to look at sustainability within their own organisations.”

Our sustainability journey started more than ten years ago and since then, the Zoo has achieved its carboNZero certification for the fifth year running, we've added two 100% electric vehicles to our fleet, installed 48 solar panels, we reduce our water usage with rainwater tanks, we use an on-site composter to reduce the Zoo's waste to landfill rate, 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. 

“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. We hope by sharing our journey with other organisations, we will spark the conversation about what other people can do to reduce their impact on the planet,” says Ms. Fifield.

Karen Fifield accepted the award last Thursday evening from WAZA President, Dr. Jenny Gray at the award ceremony in Bangkok.