Subscribe to the SMA Newsletter

Roundtable Recap: Sustainability Partnerships

In celebration of Earth Day, we focused this month’s roundtable discussion on sustainability partnerships with special guests Kevin M. O’Brien, Director of Corporate Partnerships at the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, Christine Boisen, Sponsorship Manager at the Phoenix Zoo, and Caitlin Garling, Director of Corporate Partnerships at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to lead the discussion.

Why Sustainability Partnerships Matter

The panelists emphasized the significance of sustainability partnerships for their organizations. Kevin highlighted the proactive approach taken by the LA Zoo in response to the city’s conservation directives, which led to the development of a comprehensive sustainability and conservation program, guiding their partnership initiatives.

Christine stressed the importance of aligning sponsorship activations with the core mission of wildlife and nature conservation, while Caitlin underscored the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s goal of becoming a world-renowned conservation organization.

How To Get Started

When asked about recommendations for starting a sustainability partnership program, the panelists emphasized the need for a clear game plan and transparent communication.

Christine emphasized the importance of leadership buy-in and aligning partnerships with organizational values, while Caitlin encouraged transparency in proposals and leveraging existing corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Kevin highlighted the incorporation of sustainability elements into sponsorship activations, such as showcasing partners’ sustainability plans and promoting eco-friendly practices.

Driving Change

The discussion also delved into practical examples of sustainability partnerships in action.

Caitlin highlighted the partnership with a local utility provider, showcasing how tree trimmings were repurposed as animal feed, fostering community engagement and conservation awareness.

Kevin shared a compelling case study involving Pepsi’s transition from single-use plastic bottles to aluminum cans, driven by the LA Zoo’s sustainability initiatives.

Key Takeaways

The panelists emphasized the need for intentionality, transparency, and alignment with organizational values. By leveraging partnerships to drive positive change, zoos and other organizations can make a meaningful impact on sustainability and conservation efforts.

Make sure you join us for the next discussion, on the third Friday of the month, so you can join us in talking a little ship!