Disney Aims for Zero Carbon Emissions, Zero Waste in New Environmental Goals

Disney Aims for Zero Carbon Emissions, Zero Waste in New Environmental Goals

The Walt Disney Company details a set of long- and near-term environmental goals in its first comprehensive corporate responsibility report for the recreation and entertainment empire of media networks, theme parks, resorts, cruise and travel tours, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media businesses.

Disney released its 99-page companywide corporate responsibility report yesterday along with reports highlighting aspects of the firm's parks and resorts segment, which started with Disneyland in Anaheim more than 55 years ago and now includes the Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club resorts, Adventures by Disney travel tours, and five resorts containing 11 theme parks, some of which are owned or co-owned by independent entities and operated under licenses from Disney.

The corporate responsibility report lays out seven long-term environmental goals for the company:
• Zero waste.
• Zero net direct greenhouse gas emissions from fuels.
• Reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption.
• Net positive impact on ecosystems.
• Minimize water use.
• Minimize product footprint.
• Inform, empower and activate positive action for the environment.

The report also sets near-term targets in the next three to five years that include:
• Cutting direct emissions from fuels in half by 2012 through reductions, efficiencies and offsets. The report said direct GHG emissions from fuel combustion and refrigerant leaks amounted to 566,042 metric tons CO2eq in 2006.
• Reducing energy consumption by 10 percent by 2013 compared to a 2006 baseline, which the report placed at 2,006 million kilowatt hours.
• Decreasing the solid waste sent to landfill by 50 percent by 2013 compared to a 2006 baseline level. The company's parks and resorts segment, for example, generated 298,000 tons of solid waste in 2006, diverted 128,000 tons of it and sent 170,000 tons to landfill, the report said.
•Increasing the percentage of purchases that include post-consumer recycled material by 2013.
• Developing and implementing an integrated approach by 2010 to design, engineering and habitat protection for all new construction projects.
• Increasing the level of support from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund each year for the next five years. The fund contributed more than $1.8 million to 72 nonprofits for 104 projects in 43 countries in 2008.

For the current year, the company said it intends to focus on development of:
• A comprehensive water conservation strategy.
• A corporate-wide green energy strategy.
• A comprehensive waste minimization strategy.

The corporate responsibility report looks at company's practices across its operations from the nutritional value of food in children's meals at theme parks to "green standards" for employees and the workplace conditions and labor rules among the manufacturers of Disney consumer products. The report also provides measurements of Disney's progress thus far, and examples of challenges and success stories.

According to the company, some of the latter include its enforcement of its code of conduct for manufacturers, which was established in 1996. In response to reports alleging poor working conditions at factories in China making books, toys and other products for Disney licensees, the company worked with firms to achieve compliance and yanked its authorization to manufacture Disney products from those unwilling to remediate. The company said the firms that continued as manufacturers of Disney goods devised and acted upon comprehensive compliance plans in addition to working with third-party mediation resources to address issues related to worker claims.

A copy of Disney's corporate responsibility report can be downloaded here.