Posted on 07th November 2019 by Media Relations
Taronga Conservation Society Australia has been recognised for its outstanding environmental and sustainability initiatives, winning two international awards this week and being nominated for two of the NSW Premier’s Green Globe Awards.
On Sunday 2 November, Taronga won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Excellence Awards in Bangkok, for its Tiger Trek exhibit. Based at Taronga Zoo Sydney, Tiger Trek draws attention to the plight of the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger, a species at risk in the wild due to threats such as habitat loss as the result of unsustainable palm oil plantations.
Tiger Trek takes guests on a virtual journey to Sumatra – Taronga modelled the exhibit on Way Kambas National Park in southern Sumatra – where they learn about the threats facing Sumatran Tigers as well as what individuals can do to help.
The RSPO is a not-for-profit comprised of stakeholders from the palm oil industry as well as environmental and social NGOs. The RSPO has developed criteria that companies must comply with in order to produce Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO). These criteria can help to minimise the impact of palm oil cultivation on the environment and communities in palm oil-producing regions.
On Wednesday 6 November, Taronga was awarded the WAZA Environmental Sustainability Award at the 74th World Association of Zoos and Aquariums annual conference in Beunos Aires, Argentina. This award recognises exceptional, comprehensive environmental sustainability programs that advance an organisation’s commitment and efforts toward environmental sustainability.
WAZA also recognises organisations for their contribution to wildlife conservation with the WAZA Conservation Award. Taronga was honoured with this award in 2018, at the WAZA annual conference, for its conservation work in areas such as education, community campaigns, scientific research and field programs. Taronga is the first organisation to win both prestigious awards.
Taronga was recognised as a leader in sustainability this year for its ‘waste from landfill diversion strategy’ to reduce single use plastics throughout its two sites. This has included diverting 90 per cent of Taronga’s waste from landfill and removing 80 per cent of all single use plastics in its food and beverage outlets.
Taronga has developed an educational toolkit for businesses who want to reduce waste, as well as an impact calculator to help individuals visualise the difference they can make by changing habits. Schools and students have been encouraged to undertake an audit of their single use plastics use and set targets for reduction. So far, more than 2000 individuals have committed to reduce their plastic footprint and over 800 schools and 200 businesses have taken part in the program.
Also, through Taronga’s partnership with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, an automated Return & Earn reverse vending machine has been installed at Taronga Zoo. Since its launch, 2 million containers have been deposited.
On November 27, Taronga will join other finalists for the 20th anniversary of the annual Green Globe Awards, to be presented by Member for Manly James Griffin MP. The Green Globe Awards recognise sustainability leaders across New South Wales and celebrates collaboration and partnerships that encourage others to achieve positive change and protect our environment. Taronga has been nominated for the Public Sector Leadership Award and the
Resource Efficiency Award for its ‘Treading Lightly – For the Wild’ program, which encompasses many sustainability initiatives implemented on site at Taronga’s two zoo sites, as well as Taronga’s community campaigns and public education programs.
Minister for Energy and Environment, the Hon Matt Keen MP, says he is incredibly proud of the recognition Taronga has received. “Taronga is prioritising ecological sustainability for the protection of our natural environment and the greater global environment. Taronga’s 360 approach to conservation ensures they act as a model that inspires and educates our community.”
“Taronga has a vision to ‘secure a shared future for wildlife and people’, which drives our approach to environmental sustainability in two key ways,” says Cameron Kerr, Chief Executive of Taronga. “By improving our own sustainability performance, we lead by example and through our community conservation program we drive behaviour change for the 2 million guests who visit our zoos each year.”