The Walt Disney Company has announced medium and long-term energy and environmental goals, with big plans to reduce emissions and waste, and cut electricity and fuel use. The announcements were part of the company’s 2008 CSR Report, which included a GHG inventory, plus analysis of waste and water usage. The company first began taking stock of its total emissions in 2007 using the World Research Institute’s GHG Protocol, with 2006 offering the first figures available. Aggregate emissions that year, from fuel and electricity use plus refrigerant leaks, totaled a whopping 1.84 million metric tons of CO2e.
While Disney emphasizes a long history of environmental stewardship – citing their endangered species conservation efforts with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, themes in such films as Pocahontas, and more – the company also wants to seize any opportunity to strengthen their bond with customers and make their company “a more desirable place to work.”
In fact, one of Disney’s first GHG-reduction initiatives was instituting a WALL-E-themed carpooling program for employees, which coincided with the high gas prices of summer 2008. Employees also took part in the Strive for Five Program at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, which educated cast members about energy conservation techniques.
The newly-released report outlines Disney’s two long-term environment goals: zero net direct greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing indirect greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption. To get there, the report defined several medium-term goals:
- Achieving 50 percent of its long-term goal by 2012 through a combination of reductions and efficiencies, and by purchasing carbon offsets
- Reducing electricity consumption by 10 percent – compared to 2006 baseline – in all existing assets by 2013
- Developing a plan to aggressively pursue renewable sources of electricity to reduce emissions.
When large corporations like Disney find value in going green and take decisive action, the ripples quickly spread across the industry. I’m particularly interested to see what happens in Florida, since its per capita energy demand is among the highest in the US (and more of its electricity is petroleum-fired than any other state). Disney’s efforts to lead by example could have a significant effect on the entire Sunshine State, and support recent climate change initiatives from Governor Charlie Crist.
And though it sounds mawkish, I don’t underestimate the influence that Disney has young minds; if the company chooses to bring a strong message of conservation and environmental responsibility to its films, parks, and television networks, then its payoff could be limitless.
*I thought for two hours to come up with a clever headline, but the best I could do was “Mickey to Minnie-mize Emissions”. If you think you can do better, leave your headline in the comments.