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Membership No.





Environmental or Nature Conservation Organisations (Non Governmental Organisations)


United States

Member since

4 August 2014


Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium


Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA) is one of 221 accredited members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. PDZA?s mission is to promote and practice effective conservation on behalf of the world?s wildlife. PDZA encompasses 29 acres of the 700 acre Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington, USA. We are a national leader in the conservation of Southeast Asia wildlife including white-cheeked gibbons, siamangs, lowland anoa, and small-clawed otters. Of special note is our work with the conservation of Sumatran tigers and clouded leopards through our work with the AZA?s Species Survival Plans for these endangered species. Because of our work with these programs we are acutely aware of the importance of preserving high conservation value forests to secure habitat and mitigate conflicts between people and wildlife. Our conservation fund provides financial support for a variety of programs in Southeast Asia to foster attitudes of environmental stewardship and develop future conservation leaders within local communities. We collaborate with other AZA institutions to develop consistent and effective messaging on this issue.

ACOP Report Submissions

Organisation's Commitments Toward Sustainability

  • How will your organisation promote the RSPO internally and to other stakeholders?
    PDZA?s palm oil initiative consists of two phases. The first will be to enhance onsite palm oil messaging and engagement with staff members and guests. The second will be to bring this effort to the larger community as part of a comprehensive social marketing campaign.

    Phase One, Goal #1, Spring/Summer 2014: To have PDZA model sustainable palm oil on site through food service, gift, and vending operations and staff action.

    1. Develop an institutional policy and guidelines for food service, gift shop, and other vendors to solely source RSPO certified products, emphasizing vendors that embrace transparency in their sourcing practices.
    2. Assist staff members in adopting sustainable palm oil consumer actions.
    3. Expand sustainable palm oil purchasing practices throughout Metro Parks, our parent organization.

    Phase One, Goal #2, Spring/Summer 2014: To have PDZA become an active stakeholder and voice in the RSPO and foster collaboration with scientists, educators, and other conservation organizations to inform our strategies.

    1. Join the RSPO as a Conservation NGO Ordinary Member. As a voting member of the RSPO, PDZA can have a voice in shaping the direction of the palm oil industry.
    2. Enhance collaborations with other AZA institutions actively engaged in palm oil campaigns such as Woodland Park Zoo, Cheyenne Mt. Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, San Diego Zoo Global, Philadelphia Zoo, Cincinnati Zoo, Houston Zoo, etc.
    3. Investigate other collaborative opportunities with organizations working on this issue.

    Phase One, Goal #3, Summer 2014: To increase PDZA consumer engagement strategies that build community and drive action promoting the sustainable production of palm oil and positive advocacy toward the RSPO and its members.

    1. Develop visitor engagement activities and graphics to meet Goal #3 (see below.)

    Phase Two Goal #1, 2015: To have PDZA become a prominent and expert voice in the community on the palm oil issue and drive the community-wide norm of the use of sustainable palm oil.

    1. Develop community engagement activities and graphics to meet Phase Two Goal #1 (see below.)
  • Where relevant, what processes is the organisation establishing to engage with interested parties, for example to resolve conflict or to use sustainably produced palm oil?
    We have convened a PDZA Palm Oil Committee to create and implement our plan as outlined above. The committee has several sub-committees working on specific action steps.

    1. Institutional Policy Development

    Action: We will develop an institutional policy on the purchase and use of products made only from sustainable palm oil and its derivatives. There may be some exceptions to this policy in the short term due to existing contracts with vendors and sponsors but we will work toward full compliance in the future.

    Action: Create a plan for checking on products currently utilized by PDZA including all food items (animal food, enrichment items, food used in all education programs and events, etc.), cleaning items, and health care items.

    2. Staff Engagement

    Action: We will use a variety of strategies to educate and engage staff on the palm oil issue. Initial ideas include a competition between departments to identify products they use containing palm oil and then reward areas with best transformation to sustainable-only. We will tie the visitor engagement theme (see below) into the staff engagement plan as well.

    3. Visitor Engagement

    Action: The centerpiece of this plan will be the creation of a mobile palm oil messaging platform utilizing the Zoo?s electric vehicle transformed into a "tiger" and stage interpretive activities from there after animal presentations in our Asia area and other events.

    Interpretive activities would include:
    a. graphical explanation/game of sustainable vs. non sustainable palm oil
    b. Kids? shopping game with cat trading cards given out for playing
    c. Electronic letter writing station ? to encourage companies to use sustainable palm oil and label their products
    d. PAWS to Give Thanks ? thank you notes to our guests? favorite RSPO-member companies written on paw-shaped paper. These thank-you paws will be sent/delivered to the companies to let them know that consumers care! We will also investigate a large-scale compilation of the thank you paws to demonstrate a community norm in caring about the impact of palm oil on Asian wildlife.
    e. Assist guests in downloading the palm oil shopping app and provide a thank you gift such as an ?I?m helping tigers? pin.
    2. Promote shopping guide/app in Asia presentations.

    4. Community Engagement

    Action: Conduct focus groups to determine the status of the attitudes of community members (public and business owners) and barriers to the use of sustainable palm oil.

    Action: Develop a rewards-based (i.e. positive) community publicity campaign to advocate for sustainable palm oil targeting media and venues including social media, newspaper editorial submissions, public radio, community organizations and events.
  • Where relevant, how will your organisation work towards implementing the RSPO Principles and Criteria or assessing supplier performance against these criteria?
    In addition to the specific actions outlined above, PDZA plans collaborate with other AZA institutions engaged on the palm oil issue. The Chair of the PDZA Committee to will be attending the first AZA Palm Oil Symposium in April hosted by Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. This meeting will address developing consistent palm oil messages and behavior change strategies throughout AZA institutions.

    Our position as a leader in environmental education in our community coupled with the power the charismatic animals in our collection have to connect with visitors is a strong force for driving positive consumer behavior.

    We believe our visitors can become a influential voice for social change, validating the market for sustainable palm oil and motivating manufacturers to support its use and labeling.
  • Any other information that would support the application such as what your organisation hopes to gain from joining RSPO and how it would support RSPO?
    We would like to become a voting member of the RSPO in order to participate in transforming the palm oil market.

    The success of this initiative would bring a comprehensive change of behavior by consumers within our community that will have a significant impact on protecting some of PDZA?s flagship species in the wild.
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    This material and accompanying data is based on submissions from RSPO members which has not been independently verified and is provided by the RSPO and authors without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. By making use of this material you do so at your own risk and you accept that the author shall not be liable for any claims, liabilities, losses, damages, costs or expenses of any kind arising.