Resources for Greening Business Practices

Greening business practices is a process and most facilities will address different aspects of their operation over time. Some of the areas and related resources include:  

Green Plans, Policies, and Budgets

The heart of a facility’s green practices often takes the form of a sustainability plan and/or policy, and an accredited facility’s commitment to natural resource conservation and sustainability must be included in the written conservation action plan/strategy that is part of AZA accreditation. Many facilities also opt to dedicate a portion of their annual budgets to green practices or reinvest savings from past green practices to future ones. Read about members’ planning efforts and an overview of their programs in the following Green Tales, published in Connect.


Accredited institutions frequently track energy usage (e.g. electricity, natural gas, and propane) and make efforts either to purchase renewable energy or generate it on-grounds.  

Resources have been compiled that are relevant to energy conservation and efficiency measures, renewable energy, alternative transportation, greenhouse gas (GHG)-limiting practices, and more. View those resources here, or visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy for additional information.

Read about members’ energy conservation efforts in the following Green Tales, published in Connect.

Fuel for Fleet

One aspect of greening an institution is to ensure that the fleet of vehicles on-grounds is fueled in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Read about members’ efforts on this topic in the following Green Tales, published in Connect


Production of waste at any type of facility is inevitable, but the protocols used to manage, dispose of, and even reuse it is what sets green facilities apart.

Read about members’ efforts on this topic in the following Green Tales, published in Connect

Management of waste involves participating in numerous modern innovations, such as composting, recycling, and methane recovery. Resources you can use to learn more about these processes have been compiled. Explore them here.


Responsible water usage and management is central to the workings of all AZA-accredited institutions. Resources for learning more about sustainable water management have been compiled. Explore them here.

Read about members’ water conservation efforts in the following Green Tales, published in Connect.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gases are one of the primary driving forces behind modern global climate change. These gases are directly tied to human activity, as they can result from a variety of industrial processes, the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture, and deforestation.

Green (Sustainability) Focused Certifications

Many AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have sought green-focused certifications to help them achieve specific goals. Some of the most common third-party certifications that AZA-accredited facilities have chosen to seek to include:

Additional third-party certifications that may help the AZA community implement their green (sustainable) business practices have been compiled. Explore them here.

Read about members’ third-party green certifications in the following Green Tales, published in Connect.

Local Food

A number of AZA-accredited institutions buy locally-grown food, grow it on-site, or specifically seek sustainably grown and harvested food. The US Congress in the 2008 Farm Act defined “locally or regionally produced agricultural food product”, as one that is transported less than 400 miles from its origin or within the state in which it is produced.

Read about how members are sourcing local and/or sustainably-produced foods in the following Green Tales, published in Connect.

Everybody can make informed decisions about the foods they consume in order to minimize negative impacts on wildlife. For example, some fish populations have been over-harvested or are caught in ways that that negatively impact other wildlife, including marine mammals, non-target fish species (bycatch), and even seabirds. Check out the following pocket guides to make healthy, more sustainable choices about your own seafood consumption:

 Additional Resources

The AZA community goes to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of animals in its care and also takes measures to consider wild animals on or near facilities. For example, some practices are available that can make buildings “bird-safe.” Learn more about bird-safe buildings and about how members are implementing bird-safe construction in the following Green Tales, published in Connect.

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums purchase an array of items to make their operations successful. Procurement should always look for environmentally preferred items (e.g. compostable food service products, recycled paper, green cleaning chemicals, and sustainable coffee). Explore them here.

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are not only greening their own operations but are also helping their communities adopt new conservation behaviors. Pocket guides are available that cover everything from consumer products to action steps you can take to lead a healthier life for yourself and the environment. Explore the pocket guides here. Read about how members are engaging their staff and visitors in making greener choices in the following Green Tales, published in Connect.

Examples of Green Practices at Accredited Institutions

Accredited institutions are taking a stand against climate change and environmental degradation by engaging in sustainable practices. Explore the following links for examples at specific zoos and aquariums:

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