The review summarizes the best sustainability practices botanic gardens worldwide are using and examines ways to encourage and increase visitor behavior change. The Review is divided into sections describing what botanic gardens are currently doing and what they can do to influence others, with a strong focus on increasing visitor engagement.
Botanic gardens attract more than 500 million visitors a year, putting these organizations in a strong position to educate and influence a large section of society on the effects of climate change. As institutions that aim to connect guests with the beauty of nature, it aligns with botanic gardens' values to be proponents of environmental sustainability. Staff of botanic gardens also have the technical knowledge and skills that can be used to address the issue of climate change, making them an excellent resource for guests to learn information and tools that will empower them to make real change.
The Review was compiled using the results of two sustainability surveys that botanic gardens and associated institutions completed in late 2019. The surveys were a joint effort between BGCI and Phipps. The first survey looked at the sustainable practices that the organization or institution are currently employing. In total, 99 institutions responded to this survey, representing 36 countries across the global network.
The first part of the Review explores the results of this survey, reporting the in-house practices of an organization to meet sustainability targets and address climate change through areas such as green buildings, renewable energy supply, sustainable staff travel, carbon offsetting, sustainable food and more. The next part of the Review examines the result of the second survey, which focused on ways in which gardens educate and challenge their visitors to consider their own sustainable behavior, such as educating and empowering their guests to switch to renewable energy, learn about sustainable individual travel, reduce food waste and more. For this survey, 61 institutions responded, representing 26 countries worldwide.
In order to increase botanic gardens' visitor behavior encouragement, BGCI and Phipps will be launching a Sustainability Challenge later this year that seeks to create a community of best practices aimed at influencing visitor behavior change and measuring the impacts change in energy consumption, carbon emissions, responsible sourcing, and other measures. An online resource, The Climate Toolkit, is open for enrollment for information sharing and connecting with likeminded leaders.
For more information and to read the Technical Review, click here.