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It’s always Earth Month at SSA


Though April was Earth Month, we believe it’s always the right time to celebrate our climate action efforts. It’s why we've activated our 16-year Climate Action Plan and continue discovering new, creative ways to enhance sustainability in our day-to-day business. 

Here’s a look at how we celebrate our planet throughout the year, from our food services to the culture we foster, and little ways you can do the same. 

Sustainable food service initiatives

SSA_Icebreaker-13 (1)
  1. Powering our kitchens through solar energy: Solar power is giving new life to how our kitchens use electricity. We’re testing this out in our buildings by adding solar power panels to our roofs, promoting energy efficiency across our operations while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. SSA aims to have 70% of our sites with 100% electric culinary kitchens by 2030, massively reducing our carbon footprint by transitioning away from gas-powered equipment.

  2. Prioritizing reusable serving wear: By using washable service wear (forks, spoons, knives, plates, etc.), we’ve significantly cut down on disposable waste, contributing to a reduction in landfill contributions. P.S. This is an easy one to implement at your cultural attraction by purchasing reusable serving wear that can be used again and again!

  3. Establishing edible food rescue programs: Over 20+ of our partners minimize food waste by donating edible leftovers from Catered events to local communities. These programs not only reduce what gets thrown away but also provide meals for those in need, giving us a direct tie back to each community we are a part of.

  4. Hosting waste-reduction events: During the 2022 AZA conference, SSA welcomed more than 3,000 guests at Zoo Day and Icebreaker events and achieved a 95.6% waste diversion rate. This was so cool! You can read more about the whole event and how we did it here. SSA_Icebreaker-46

    P.S. You don’t have to have a ‘zero-waste’ event to still cut back on how much your events throw away. We share a lot of tips on how you can take small, impactful steps in our blog.

  5. Eliminating single-use plastic (and more!): With our partner Monterey Bay Aquarium, we’ve made huge strides in sustainability across the entire food cycle. By eliminating single-use plastics and cardboard waste, as well as starting to receive our deliveries for produce and seafood in reusable containers, we’ve achieved massive annual waste diversion, including 6,848 lbs of plastic beverage bottles, 1,096 lbs of individual yogurt containers, 27 lbs of poly plastic linen protectors, and 2,300 lbs of cardboard packaging. 

Sustainable retail operations

  1. Packaging reduction and plastic elimination: Similar to our efforts in the food cycle, SSA has worked with retail vendors to redesign packaging - with one product alone (our Bubble Blaster), we removed close to 1 ton of plastic and 150K AA batteries annually. You can also read more about our plastic elimination efforts with Monterey Bay Aquarium and Houston Zoo to make both their gift shops 100% single-use plastic packing-free.
    MBA Single Use Plastic Free Store
  3. Creating truly biodegradable products: SSA's partnership with Wild Republic led to the development of the Bio Quest toy line, which is a 100% biodegradable product made from bioplastics that decompose naturally.

  4. Utilizing on-demand sustainable fashion: Most of SSA’s logo apparel is printed through A&F using Kornit Digital’s (one of the most sustainable apparel printers in the world!) sustainable printing techniques, which consume 60% less energy and 95% less water compared to traditional screen printing methods.

  5. Promoting conservation support: SSA supports global and local conservation efforts by selling exclusive branded products, with proceeds supporting organizations like the Snow Leopard Trust and the International Elephant Foundation. These initiatives raise funds for these causes while also educating our guests about wildlife conservation.

  6. Collaborating on restorative purchasing: We recently partnered with Marine Layer to feature its Re-Spun collection at the Los Angeles Zoo. The Re-Spun line used a closed-loop, fully circular approach by recycling over 400,000 used clothing items into new products.

    Marine Layer - Maryland Zoo

Earth Month, every day

We’re proud to be an organization that celebrates our planet and finds new creative ways to be more sustainable year-round. Learn more about our sustainability efforts and what we’re working on next by checking out our full Climate Action Plan.