Taronga’s commitment to a sustainable future

Taronga’s commitment to a sustainable future

#Sustainability, #Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Posted on 01st November 2021 by Media Relations

Taronga is taking a lead in tackling climate change by reducing its carbon footprint and investing in green technologies

In recent years, the term net zero has become synonymous with tackling climate change. Across the world, governments and companies alike are all making commitments to achieve net zero emissions. 

In Australia, all States and Territories have made the pledge and, as of last week, the Federal Government joined them by committing to net zero by 2050. 

According to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), close to 70% of the global economy is now committed to net zero by 2050.

But what does net zero actually mean? And how is it different to carbon neutral claims? 

As Taronga’s Sustainability Manager, I am often asked about the difference between the two. 

Take a look online and you will find an array of interpretations of the difference between carbon neutral and net zero – some say there is no difference, while others say that carbon neutral is achieved when CO2 emissions are balanced by offsetting, and that net zero addresses all greenhouse gas emissions. 

For Taronga, we see net zero as the step beyond carbon neutrality. It is a renewed commitment to reducing emissions and offsetting the small amount that remains. It represents a significant and permanent cut in Taronga’s absolute emissions which will help to protect the health of the planet we share.

Taronga has a long-standing history of addressing conservation challenges and climate change. In 2018, Taronga became Carbon Neutral certified, which involved an ongoing commitment to measure emissions, reduce these where possible, and offset remaining emissions by supporting overseas renewable energy projects (carbon avoidance) and Australian tree planting (carbon sequestration) to support habitat for priority species.

We look this early leadership in recognition of our role to help address climate change as one of the most pressing issues that humanity and our planet has faced, through targeted action and by inspiring and engaging the two million guests we see at our Zoos each year. 

Climate change places increasing pressure on an already vulnerable biosphere and continues to exacerbate the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Each year 10 million hectares of forest is destroyed, driving species to extinction and further intensifying the greenhouse effect. 

The very real risk of irreversible change to our climate and catastrophic consequences for ecological and human communities is also why Taronga is now committing to net zero by 2030.

The next question is, why make a commitment to net zero now? 

Climate change is the single biggest challenge we all face. 

And while world leaders are due to come together in Glasgow for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in November, we must continue to do all we can to cut emissions and reduce our carbon footprint. 

This is why Taronga has committed to 70% reduction in absolute emissions as part of a proposed net zero pathway plan including investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and efforts to reduce the footprint of our supply chain. 

Our annual greenhouse gas assessments consistently show that electricity is our largest source of emissions, which is why we’ve committed to procuring 100% renewable electricity by 2030 at the latest.  

Look out for the Taronga 2021-2025 Sustainability Strategy with ambitious targets, including commitment to no net increase in water consumption (excluding recycled or rain water) and applying a sustainable and ethical procurement framework to all purchasing decisions.