April 20, 2022

Advancing Sustainability


As the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have the opportunity to rebound from this transformative crisis with a reshaped economy that promises a more verdant, equitable future for all through innovations that support regenerative growth. This is not the moment to return to “business as usual” with a system that does not support thriving wildlife and biodiversity. We must move forward.

That’s why—despite the disruption—Denver Zoo has chosen to use this pivotal moment in our history to advance and prioritize our sustainability efforts, and continue to serve as an environmental leader, both in the industry and within our community. In order to carry out our mission, Inspiring Communities to Save Wildlife for Future Generations, we must start by focusing on operational sustainability on our 80-acre campus and throughout our supply chains.

Denver Zoo is proud of the three major publicly announced targets from our Sustainability Objectives and Targets program:

  • Energy: 25% reduction in energy use by 2025 from a 2018 baseline. 100% renewable electricity use by 2030.

  • Water: 50% reduction in water use by 2025 from a 2018 baseline.

  • Waste: Zero Waste campus by 2025 (defined as a 90% landfill diversion rate)

Waste Diversion and promotion a circular economy: The combination of our operations and animals can produce a lot of waste. 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.

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 our local waterways and reducing 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.

Denver Zoo has already accomplished a lot in these areas! As of Earth Day 2022, we have achieved more than 70% reduction in annual water consumption since 1999, an average of 65% waste diverted from landfills, and continual reductions in annual energy use despite campus growth.

We are at the tipping point right now, and must reach beyond the low-hanging fruit of retrofitting to LED lamps, utilizing on-site renewables, composting organic waste and saving and protecting clean water. We need to reach higher for the futuristic, innovative next steps in Net Zero Electricity principles, designing our buildings and supply chains for efficiency and resiliency, continuing water quality and conservation efforts, smart materials use and circular economy programs, and strategic greenhouse gas analysis and reduction. And we need your help! We are such a unique industry that we must be willing and able to share best practices, ideas and even failures within our community. Collaboration is essentially at the root of the effectiveness of each of the Sustainability Objective areas.

Together we can protect clean air, land and water from toxins, pollutants, debris and exploitation, while saving wildlife and wild places along the way.


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