Sustainability and Safety

Our planet faces great challenges, many of which threaten the earth’s health and biodiversity. Denver Zoo has a rich and meaningful heritage as an organization committed to the conservation of animals across the globe and as a leader in the animal care field. Our commitment to species conservation extends to our commitment to protect the environment and our Denver Zoo community through our safety and sustainability programs embodied in our third party certified Campus Management System (CMS)*.

At Denver Zoo our goal is to operate in the most environmentally, socially and economically friendly manner possible. We are taking positive action to secure a safe and healthy planet for both animals and humans.
sustainability objectives

Eight Priority
Sustainability Objectives

  • Denver Zoo’s sustainability programs support actions to mitigate the impact of climate change and other sustainability issues in an effort to protect wild animals and wild places.
  • Denver Zoo is working towards establishing targets for our eight priority objective areas.
  • For example, Denver Zoo has set a target for our waste objective to be a Zero Waste Campus by 2025.

Responsible sourcing of materials,
food and services:

Every product, good or service that is used on Denver Zoo’s campus comes with its own social and environmental impacts. We strive to work with partners who also work to improve their social and environmental footprints. Together we can support biodiversity, knowing it starts with us voting with our purchasing dollars for the world we want to see.

Waste Diversion and promotion of a circular economy:

The combination of our operations and our animals produce A LOT of waste here on campus. Most of that waste can be recycled, composted, donated, reused or repurposed instead of being sent to a landfill. We are committed to reducing landfill waste wherever possible, while also supporting a more circular economy.

Sustainability Water Stewardship at Denver Zoo

Water stewardship and conservation:

Water is the vein of life for animals, plants, the environment, societies and the economy. Clean water that is available for everyone is proving to be a pressing issue at a global scale. We are dedicated to keeping harmful contaminants out of the stormwater system and reducing potable water use to support a clean water future for all.

Reduction of fossil fuel use through improving mobility, energy efficiency and supporting renewable energy sources:

Energy has transformed human life, connected us in unimaginable ways, and allowed for the world to be viewed in a different light. Unfortunately, traditional fossil fuel energy production and some other modern industrial practices are leading to a rapidly changing climate and reduced biodiversity. We are committed to a future where fossil fuel use is a thing of the past, and clean air surrounds diverse ecosystems, while still supporting a robust economy.

Economic growth that supports positive social and environmental impacts:

A strong economy and financial systems also support a strong Denver Zoo. We acknowledge the potential impacts of financial decisions and are dedicated to better understanding externalities associated with our purchases, partnerships and investments to allow for activities that fall in line with our mission.

Sustainability Social Leadership at Denver Zoo

Social leadership within the Zoo and surrounding communities:

We pride ourselves on inclusivity, diversity and justice. We will work to ensure an equitable environment on Denver Zoo Campus and look forward to extending our work into our communities. We hope to continue to be the Zoo where all are welcome.

Design for resilience to promote thriving environments in a changing climate:

We thoughtfully consider potential social and environmental disturbances to the wellbeing of our animals, employees, buildings and communities, and design accordingly to both mitigate and be able to react to such situations. We aim to share our learnings with others with the hope of building a more resilient future for all, regardless of changing environmental conditions.

Integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into planning and development processes:

We plan to activate our campus as a living lab and a model for protection of biodiversity through integration of our built and managed environments with the natural ecosystem through passive design approaches, and regenerative processes that restore, renew or revitalize our urban ecology.