The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.
Responsibly Sourced Forest Products and the Role of Zoos and Aquariums
Forests are home to 80% of the world’s remaining terrestrial biodiversity. Additionally, around 1.6 billion people rely on forests for shelter, livelihoods, water, food and fuel security, including 300 million people who live in forests, 70 million of whom are indigenous people. Forests are amazing places that connect us to an older, wilder world; places that have purpose beyond profit.
The reality is, though, our forests are under threat, primarily due to rapid and sustained conversion to agriculture, urbanisation, the systemic effects of climate change and unsustainable harvesting practices. The wholesale use of forest products, including timber and paper, that are derived from these unsustainable practices contributes directly to this threat. The sustainable use of forest products, on the other hand, provides local livelihoods, and provides an avenue for increasing scientific knowledge that can guide further ecological management decisions.
In October 2018, at the 73rd World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) Conference, the Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This included a goal that 50% of WAZA members would develop a policy by 2021 expressing a clear preference for FSC-certified products and sourcing at least 70% FSC-certified materials in their procurement of paper and wooden products.
Zoos and aquariums are respected and trusted voices for conservation and, increasingly, for sustainability. This provides us with a unique opportunity to promote the issue of sustainably sourced paper and timber products. Our communities expect us to lead the way in the drive for sustainability. Amending our own business practices can enhance employee engagement, drive innovation, enhance community relations and offer marketing opportunities. We can lead from the front by our own practices and also encourage our visitors to change their own behaviour. Together we can make a significant difference for wildlife.
A Short Guide – How to Choose Responsibly Sourced Forest Products at Your Zoo or Aquarium
This short guide was compiled by a sub-group of the WAZA Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Committee to help WAZA members understand and support the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) /Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding sourcing paper and wooden products. Regardless of the location of your zoo or aquarium, or the size of your budget, this guide contains simple steps to help you start changing the way your organisation sources forest products.