Royal Burgers' Zoo has been a proud holder of Green Key Gold since the recreation & leisure industry and business market category was added to the sustainable business eco-label in 2004. In the Netherlands, the eco-label comprises many compulsory standards and several optional standards. The extent to which an organisation meets the optional standards determines whether it is awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold.
The international hallmark assesses an organisation's sustainable entrepreneurship in the following areas: management (compliance with regulations), communication, social involvement, water, cleaning, waste, energy, building and greenery, guest and employee mobility, food and drink, purchasing and textiles. A concrete, practical example is discussed each month in a series of articles on sustainable entrepreneurship at Burgers' Zoo.
We always have many ambitious plans for new construction projects at our zoo. Of course, it is very important for us not to lose sight of the greenery. First of all, we have to deal with the zoning plan for our location and the rules that apply to it.
One of the requirements of a new construction project in our park is to conduct an ecological survey of the indigenous flora and fauna in the area to be built on. For example, we investigate whether and where bats have nested in the area and how the sparrow population is doing. If necessary, we include special bat boxes and sparrow nesting boxes in the plans.
For example, the area in the zoo known as "the old new building" had to make way for the construction of the new ring-tailed lemur enclosure. The ecological survey showed that bats were using the old indoor enclosures in that area. To minimise our impact, we created a huge rocky area suitable for bats in the sun bear enclosure so that they will be able to hibernate, give birth, or simply "overday" (overnight is not the right word for these nocturnal animals) there in the coming years.
Burgers' Zoo works with a long-term philosophy. We use durable materials that last and do not require much maintenance and/or repair every year. We also consider it important to seal buildings properly to keep pests out as much as possible and minimise energy loss. If there are any pests, we prefer to use organic pesticides.
We use sustainable building materials wherever possible. For example, in 2004, we entered into a covenant with FSC Netherlands (Forest Stewardship Council) to use FSC-certified timber in all our new construction projects. By imposing this requirement on our suppliers, we compelled them to become FSC certified if they were not already. As an organisation, you can exert positive pressure on your supply chain to follow suit.
We make every effort to support the native flora and fauna. We do this by planting flower meadows to attract many indigenous insects, for example, or by designing ecological banks where water plants, insects, frogs, toads, salamanders, fish and other animals feel at home. The fact that a wild kingfisher has regularly visited the ecological bank around the ring-tailed lemur enclosure for years is a great compliment!
We have replaced evergreen and often toxic plant species that were planted at various locations in our zoo with indigenous plant species that are characteristic of the forest landscape of the Veluwe.
As a result of all these measures, we can look forward to a highly diverse collection of animals in our zoo's enclosures and a wealth of wild flora and fauna species that have chosen Burgers' Zoo as a suitable habitat.
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