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Our Environmental Management System Protects The Environment

The Vancouver Aquarium was registered to ISO 14001, an international standard for environmental management (EMS) systems, on March 4, 2009. This has provided us with a framework to actively reduce our negative environmental impacts. We were the first aquarium in the world to achieve ISO 14001 certification. Learn more about our policies and reports:

Policies 

Environmental Policy
Energy Policy
Environmental Purchasing Policy
Waste Management Policy

Reports

2012 Annual Environmental Report

AquaQuest's Living Green Wall

Shoreline Cleanup Staff

Our Staff

Aquarium staff and volunteers are key components to the success of our EMS. We hold "green team challenges" and quarterly events that promote a green workplace. In the past, we've challenged our team to bring a waste-free lunch, to be green commuters, to eat locally produced food; and save energy over the holidays.

Buying Green

Our Environmental Purchasing policy, adopted in 2009, and Sustainable Purchasing Environmental Program helps us ensure that we consider environmental costs for purchases made on the Aquarium's behalf. Our staff also actively contributes by purchasing post-consumer recycled paper, Green Seal approved cleaning products and by connecting with our suppliers to ensure that delivery frequencies and packaging are reduced. We also use fully compostable serving ware, including compostable plates, cups, bowls and more, in addition to regularly participating in Sustainability Purchasing Network events.

Biodegradable Plates and Cutlery During Events
EMS Waste Management

Reducing Waste

We recycle and compost heavily throughout our facility and offices. Cardboard, plastics, styrofoam, metals, biodegradables and other containers are picked up regularly, as is our electronic waste including phones and computers. During the construction of our Aquaquest building, we recycled 90 percent of the demolition waste. All leaf litter, meal leftovers and compostable serving dishes are sent to an industrial compost facility to become nutrient-rich soil.

Through our EMS we continually take steps to reduce the environmental impacts from our waste. We conduct annual waste training sessions to encourage waste reduction and recycling, we have an internal re-use it office supply centre, and conduct annual waste audits to determine where we can improve our practices. This year our annual waste audit identified that we are diverting 86% of our municipal waste from the city's landfill.

Chemical Management

For better chemical management, we maintain an electronic database linked to a Material Safety Data Sheet. We also use Green Seal or Ecologo certified cleaning products, and only used LEED certified glues, caulking, solvents and paints during the construction of the Aquaquest. Continually we review our chemical list and look for environmentally preferable substitutions for conventional chemical products. In doing so, we have replaced many items, such as conventional cold packs and motor oil, with products that are better for the environmental. Local experts also facilitate our routine chemical disposals to ensure we proceed according to regulations and in the most eco-friendly way.

LEED Certified
Yellow Fish Drain

Water Conservation

We're highly focused on water conservation in all of our activities. We've incorporated water saving technologies into the Aquaquest building, such as low flow fixtures and rainwater flushing toilets. With Aquarium's Expansion Revitalization Project under way, we are also focused on conserving water by expanding our rain water harvesting system and utilizing more low flow fixtures. To let our staff and guests know which storm drains lead directly to the ocean, we mark our drains in and around our building with yellow fish.

 

Conserving Energy

Since 2005, Aquarium vehicles employ vehicle logs to help us choose efficient vehicles. We also offer our employees the TransLink Employer Pass Program and hold Green Commuter Challenges. Additionally, we feel it's important that both our drivers and those who do business with us abide by Vancouver's Anti-Idling Bylaw and plan delivery routes to reduce delivery frequencies.

Inside the walls of the Aquarium, we continually search for ways to reduce our energy consumption. To assist with this, we measure our GHG emissions and set targets to reduce our emissions.  Since 2010 the aquarium’s mobile education fleet, the AquaVan, has worked with Pacific Carbon Trust to achieve carbon neutrality and over the past few years new technologies such as the installation of Variable Speed Drive Pumps have enabled us to reduce our electrical consumption.  With plans underway for the Aquarium's Expansion Revitalization Project we have also initiated a plan to focus on minimizng electrical consumption throughout the expansion.

Conserving Energy
Jellyfish

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