The Walt Disney Co., which brought to the world the futuristic trash-compacting robot "WALL-E" last summer, has decided to create less of a mess itself. The Burbank, California-based company announced a new set of environmental goals on Monday as part of its 2008 Corporate Responsibility Report.
The goals, set over a three- to five-year period, were developed by an "environmental council" consisting of senior executives from across the company. The long-term goals outlined in the report are:
- Zero waste
- Zero net direct greenhouse gas emissions from fuels
- Reduce indirect greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption
- Net positive impact on ecosystems
- Minimise water use
- Minimise product footprint
- Inform, empower and activate positive action for the environment
Disney set a goal of reducing electricity consumption by 10 per cent from 2006 to 2013. The company produced some 566,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent gases and used 2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2006. The company set 2013 as its goal for cutting solid waste to landfills by half of its 2006 baseline. It also plans to construct two new cruise ships, in addition to its current pair, set to hit the seas by 2012. Cruise operations account for nearly half the company's greenhouse gas emissions.
"Current scientific conclusions indicate that urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required to avert accelerated climate change," the report said. "A successful response to these challenges demands fundamental changes in the way society, including businesses, use natural resources, and Disney is no exception."
"While Disney has always been a leader in environmental stewardship, we are taking ambitious steps to help preserve our planet for future generations," Disney Senior Executive Vice President and CFO Thomas O Staggs said in a statement.
Beth Stevens, senior vice president of environmental affairs, said the goals will create efficiencies and cost savings but could also require investments, such as funding programs such as planting trees to offset emissions. "In the long term, they're going to help us both with our growth and our environmental goals," he said.
The company also for the first time released figures that show the popularity of menu changes begun in 2006 that, as a default, serve kids meals with apples or other healthy side dishes, and milk, juice or water, instead of the usual French fries and soft drink. About two-thirds of parents in US parks and more than 95 per cent of those in the Hong Kong theme park accepted the healthier choices. At the Paris theme park, while 85 per cent accepted healthier drinks, only 15 per cent chose healthier sides instead of fries.
"WALL-E," released last June, depicts an Earth so covered in trash that it has been abandoned by humans who have grown obese and lazy and live on a space resort run by the Buy N Large Corporation.