Three zoos in Australia’s state of Victoria can now boast of an accolade no other zoo in the world currently can. Possibly inspired by several other entities in Australia voluntarily offsetting their carbon emissions, Zoos Victoria has become carbon neutral.
Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, and Healesville Sanctuary achieved this feat through several clean energy measures and purchasing carbon offsets from the Australian government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS).
The zoos implemented energy efficiency projects and solar power projects to reduce energy use and the share of fossil fuels in their energy consumption.
Certifier Low Carbon Australia, while congratulating the Zoos Victoria, said that, “Zoos Victoria’s certification milestone is part of its commitment to inspire millions of visitors to live more sustainably and protect wildlife and the environment for future generations.” Low Carbon Australia’s CEO hoped that given the reputation of these zoos around the world, other zoos would also take such measures to boost sustainability.
Apart from installing a solar power system, the Melbourne Zoo has also managed to reduce consumption of gas to keep its Butterfly Room at a constant temperature. Other environmental measures implemented include rainwater harvesting at Healesville’s animal hospital and significant tree planting and habitat restoration along the Werribee River.
The not-for-profit Zoos Victoria is not stopping, and plans to set up renewable energy power plants and further improve energy efficiency to boost energy independence.
While the NCOS has been in place for some years in Australia, several entities have become more active in pursuing low-carbon activities since the launch of the carbon tax in the country.
The city of Melbourne was declared carbon neutral last month. Such measures not only help in achieving voluntary targets to reduce carbon emissions but also help city councils, many of which are liable under the carbon tax regime, to cut down on their compliance cost.
The emissions attributed to the Melbourne Zoo’s gas supplier would see its compliance cost reduce if it is covered under the Carbon Pricing Mechanism. This could prove an additional incentive to zoos and other public utilities to cut their carbon emissions.