A major local charity is marking a decade of environmental quality. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has held the 14001 accreditation since 2005. Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall, also parts of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which runs Paignton Zoo, have held the standard nearly as long.
The Trust’s Environmental Officer Pete Morgan said: “The ten year anniversary of our 14001 accreditation is quite a landmark. You have to improve each year, so we have been moving forward all that time. ISO14001 is an international standard with an external audit system, so it is independent and credible. It means we have the right to call ourselves a truly green organisation.
“We nailed our colours to the mast when we added the words Environmental Park to the name of Paignton Zoo. The heart of it is the Environmental Management System, or EMS, which helps us to run the Zoo with environmental awareness.”
The EMS covers waste, water, power and purchasing. Pete thinks the standard is important for the charity’s many environmentally-aware visitors, for its peers, businesses with which it works, for charities, supporters and other potential funders. “It helps everyone inside and outside the Zoo to think green.”
Achievements in that time have come in all shapes and sizes. “We have installed the Hanwell energy monitoring system throughout Paignton Zoo – it tells us where and when we are using utilities.”
The charity has saved money and natural resources by reducing consumption. There has been a move towards sustainable wood and local purchasing. The trading company runs a successful campaign against palm oil in food sold on site. It is, says Pete, about working with companies that share the charity’s values.
“Then there’s the Garden Department’s chipper, which reduces green garden waste. It might seem like a small thing, but having the chipper probably saves us £1,000 a month in waste disposal – and we can mix green waste with animal waste – which, being a zoo, we have plenty of – to make a great soil conditioner to go back onto our gardens.”
Peter: “The auditor this year was very complimentary about Paignton Zoo and the improvements made over the last 12 months to both the off-show and public areas. It demonstrates a decade of good practice and commitment. I’d like to thank our previous environmental officers and all the staff and volunteers who have helped along the way.”
And what of the future? “The system makes sure that we are always improving. The standard is changing, it’s an incentive to move on.” Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 0844 474 2222.