Disney – A Long History of Environmental Stewardship

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The Walt Disney Company claims to have a long history of environmental stewardship. But for years the company has been the very antithesis of of anything related to environmental awareness.

The very fact that it razed down acres of orange groves in Anaheim to build its first theme park filled with “plastic” fairy tales should speak for itself. Child health activists have been against the company’s use of toxic cleaning materials in their theme parks for the last three years; they even protested outside an annual shareholder meeting in Oakland, CA yesterday.

Earlier this week, Disney announced a plan to cut carbon emissions from fuels by half by 2012, and achieve net zero direct greenhouse gas emissions at its office and retail complexes, theme parks and cruise lines. It also set a long-term goal to cut to zero the amount of waste it sends to landfills — which totaled nearly 300,000 tons in 2006, by diverting some to recycling centers, composting and buying more post-consumer recycled materials.

The new goals and targets were formulated by an Environmental Council of Senior Disney executives. The company worked with Conservation International on emissions reduction targets, and plans to have a third party monitor its progress through annual audits.

“We applaud Disney for its leadership in adopting these goals, especially at such a challenging time in the global economy,” said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “Disney’s vision underscores the continued interest in the environment among people worldwide and the growing recognition that environmental leadership can help revitalize the economy.”

The environmental goals set forth by Disney are part of an interactive multimedia report, now available online only at www.disney.com/crreport. It provides a detailed snapshot of the company’s philosophy and activities in five areas; children and family, content and products, environment, community and workplaces. Details include the company’s first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory and updates on Disney’s pioneering policies on healthy food guidelines and smoking in films.

Can Disney live up to its promise to be the happiest place in the world after all?

Image credit: Mouseplanet

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