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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Disney Vanquishes Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The Walt Disney Co. is more than the company that provides a good time to families at at Disneyland and Disney World. It is a company that is making efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, as its 2014 Citizenship Performance Summary shows. Disney has reduced its net emissions by 31 percent from 2012 levels. Its goal is to reduce net emissions by 50 percent by 2020, and the company is on track to meet the target.

Implementing energy efficiency projects is one way that Disney continues to reduce its GHG emissions. Some of the key energy efficiency projects the company launched in 2014 include technology improvements and operational process improvements. The use of fuel cells is a good example of one of Disney's energy efficiency projects. A 1 megawatt fuel cell was installed at Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. The fuel cell supplements electricity use throughout the PIxar campus. Disney is also in the process of installing a fuel cell at its Burbank Studio Lot campus.

Building to achieve LEED certification is still another way that Disney uses less energy. The new Digital Center on the ESPN campus achieved LEED certification for energy reductions and operational efficiencies. The 194,000-square-foot Digital Center opened last fall in Bristol, Connecticut. It uses things like high efficiency condensing boilers and high thermal property glazing to keep it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, according to ESPN MediaZone.

Working toward zero waste-to-landfill

Disney has a lofty goal of achieving zero waste. However, it is not as lofty of a goal as you would think. The company plans to achieve the target in increments: By 2020, it plans to achieve a 60 percent waste diversion rate. By the last quarter of 2014, Disney achieved a 48 percent waste diversion rate.

There are several examples of how Disney properties reduce waste, including:

  • The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, has a food scraps diversion program at about 60 food and beverage locations. Food scraps are collected and sent to a local facility where they are processed into feed nutrients for farms animals.

  • Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the first business customer of a local business, Harvest Power Orlando, which converts organic waste into biogas and natural fertilizers.

  • Hong Kong Disneyland collaborates with Foodlink Foundation in a food donation program that turns extra ingredients into meals for people in need.

  • There is a food waste collection in the restaurants and employee cafeteria of Disneyland Paris. The waste is collected and turned into energy or organic soil amendments through bio-methanization.

Saving water in drought plagued California

California is in the fourth year of its worst drought in recent history. Snowpack levels are at an all time low. Water conservation isn’t just something that is nice, but is necessary.

Disney clearly understands that fact: The company collaborated with the cities of Burbank and Glendale to convert their irrigation systems to reclaimed water. Last year, this project saved over 5.6 million gallons of potable water in Burbank and more than 9 million gallons in Glendale. That's a great accomplishment in a water poor state.

Image credit: Binu Nair

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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