Posted: Sun 6th Oct 2019

Chester Zoo wins Sustainability award at regional tourism ‘Oscars’

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Oct 6th, 2019

Chester Zoo’s pioneering efforts to develop sustainable practices that protect the environment have been celebrated – at the region’s top tourism awards.

Zoo conservationists picked up the sustainability prize at the 2019 Marketing Cheshire awards.

The annual awards – now in their fifteenth year – celebrate outstanding achievements in Cheshire’s visitor economy, which is worth over £3.5 billion.

The UK’s most popular zoo was recognised in the ‘Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism’ category – in a special ceremony at The Mere, Knutsford, last night.

A successful campaign that made city of Chester the world’s first Sustainable Palm Oil City was one of many factors behind the commendation.

Other achievements included the removal of more than two million pieces of single-use plastic from its supply chain, after the visitor attraction revolutionised its food and beverage supply chain in 2018.

Food and beverage deliveries to the zoo’s pre-existing restaurants were also reduced by more than 30% in 2018, resulting in a 20% reduction in food miles.

In retail shops, Chester Zoo ‘bags for life’ and pens are now made from recycled plastic bottles, while sweets that were previously wrapped in plastic are now sold in compostable bags.

All the electrical energy used at the zoo is sourced from renewable sustainable sources, such as wind and solar power.

From water saving devices installed in visitor toilets to smart meters, energy efficient led lighting and high efficiency boilers, the zoo has invested heavily to improve its impact on the environment.

Conservationists also installed electric car charging pods in its visitor and staff car parks last year, as part of a long-standing Sustainable Travel Scheme.

Jamie Christon, Chester Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“Looking after 27,000 animals – and almost two million visitors a year – takes a large operation. What we’ve proven is that this can be done sustainably and the team are very proud to have been recognised.

“We’re a wildlife conservation charity, fighting to preventing extinction, so thinking ‘green’ has always been part of who we are and what we do.

“We continue to look for new sustainable technologies and ideas. There are challenges – and we talk about them openly – in acknowledgment that we can always improve. The more we talk about these issues, the more solutions we will find together as a society – which will benefit species globally.

“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved in the last couple of years, from promoting sustainable palm oil to tackling single-use plastic. Thank you to the judges for helping us to tell the world that it is possible to act sustainably, while also growing as a successful attraction.”

As a wildlife charity, protecting the environment is among the zoo’s founding principles.

Chester Zoo’s contributions to international breeding programmes for endangered species is world-renowned, while it also delivers 80 projects in 30 countries worldwide to prevent extinction in the wild.

Conservationists have been busy creating world-class new habitats and breeding facilities for rare animals in the zoo in the past year, for species ranging from rare Asiatic lions to critically endangered lemurs. Sustainable building practices and responsibly sourced materials have been integral to this development.

Rain landing on the roof of the zoo’s staff canteen is even collected for use in the nearby Plant Project, where the zoo cares for highly threatened plant species.

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