Deforestation: WAZA's guide for zoos and aquariums to fight the global crisis


Forests are crucial ecosystems that support 80% of the world's remaining terrestrial biodiversity and the livelihoods of around 1.6 billion people, including 300 million forest dwellers. Unfortunately, our forests face significant threats due to deforestation caused by agriculture, urbanisation, and unsustainable harvesting practices. 

Zoos and aquariums rely on wood products for construction projects, food services, office supplies, veterinary care, and furnishings. While many suppliers promote their products as "sustainable" or "managed", these claims are challenging to verify. WAZA is confident that their MoU with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent, international certification system, can help tackle this problem. FSC ensures that the harvested trees are replanted or allowed to regenerate naturally.

Here are some actionable steps that organisations can take to ensure the responsible sourcing of forest products:

  • Develop and implement institutional policy:

    Establish a clear and comprehensive policy that promotes the responsible sourcing of forest products. Align your policy with reputable certifications, such as FSC-certified products. Zoos and aquariums can work together to influence the supply chain positively.

  • Communication:

    Communicate the commitment to source forest products responsibly with your staff, ensuring they understand and support the initiative. Their cooperation is crucial for the success of sustainability efforts.

  • Form partnerships:

    Collaborate with like-minded organisations from various sectors, such as the private sector, academia, education, government, and society. By pooling resources and expertise, you can collectively drive positive change.

  • Engage visitors:

  Zoos and aquariums have a unique opportunity to influence community behaviour change. Use this platform to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable paper and timber products.

Read the guide to start changing the way your organisation sources forest products.