As you know, the Aquarium is temporarily closed to the public to help curb the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community. But, shortly before our closure, we received the happy news that our wonderful gift shop had received a SEAL (sustainability, environmental achievement and leadership) Award for their sustainability efforts—and we thought Earth Action Week was the perfect time to share the details with you!
A visit to the Seattle Aquarium isn’t complete without a stop at our gift shop, filled with marine-themed books, toys, apparel, home items and more—plus, most of its staff members are former Aquarium volunteers or interns. (Pro tip: although the gift shop, like the Aquarium, is currently closed, you can still check out the shop’s website and make a wish list for when they reopen!)
In addition to offering the cutest plush animals you’ve ever seen (made from 100% recycled materials and without harmful plastic bead pouches), the gift shop proudly demonstrates sustainable retail practices, thanks to the dedication and innovation of Event Network, the retail operator who runs the shop in partnership with the Aquarium.
And that outstanding commitment earned Event Network the 2019 SEAL Award for Environmental Initiatives. As the program’s website explains, the SEAL Awards “celebrate the companies and leaders across the globe that make measurable contributions to sustainability, and develop innovative initiatives that will positively impact the environment for centuries to come.” Congratulations to Event Network!
So, next time you’re able to visit, what might you see in our gift shop that reflects this commitment to sustainability? It’s more what you won’t see: the shop itself minimizes the use of plastics. Everything from fixtures, displays and signage utilizes materials that are eco-friendly and sourced responsibly. Product packaging has been redesigned to not only reduce or eliminate the use of plastic altogether, but to also make it the right size for each shipment to reduce overall material waste and weight. This efficiency helps make shipping and transporting the packaging more environmentally friendly, too.
Plus, when we’re open again and you’re able to make a purchase in the gift shop, you’ll be helping the Aquarium’s animals in two ways. First, a portion of all purchases at the gift shop supports our mission and conservation efforts. Second, you can choose the “round up” option for your purchase, which will round your total amount up to the next dollar—with the difference going to the Aquarium as a donation. The round-up program started a few years ago, with an amazing and generous response. In 2019 alone, round-up contributions and donations made at the gift shop totaled nearly $36,000!
We can’t wait to welcome you back—and the staff at the gift shop can’t either!