It’s probably not something most of us think about often, but when rain storms occur (as anyone who has ever visited the Walt Disney World Resort can attest they very much do), the water has to go somewhere. In many places around the world, the water is simply absorbed into the ground, or added to lakes and rivers (and other bodies of water, of course), but in urban areas, where buildings and asphalt covers the natural environment, complications are introduced.
While most of us are accustomed to storm drains found on our local streets which dump water into the sewage system, often times stormwater is just funneled to a water source through an expansive network of pipes. This too has its problems, mostly that contaminants can be picked up as the stormwater runs across asphalt and subsequently pollutes natural water sources, potentially even eroding them.
A couple of years ago, the Disneyland Resort worked with the City of Anaheim to institute a new stormwater management system which earned them accolades as the resort now handles most of its captured stormwater completely on site: capturing it, treating it and recycling it.
Now it looks as though Walt Disney World will be getting into the act. Earlier today, Walt Disney Imagineering filed a notice of commencement with the Orange County comptroller’s office for a project titled ‘BVD Stormwater Preview Center.’ We were able to investigate further and unearthed plans for phase one of the project, which encompasses a large area just outside the Downtown Disney District.
While dissecting the blueprints we have received is far outside our forte, the project also appears to extend beyond Buena Vista Drive to include regions along I-4.
We look forward to learning more about this project in the upcoming months.
Disney today announced a new Paper Sourcing and Use Policy, establishing guidelines for paper used in Disney’s day-to-day business operations as well as its consumer products and packaging. The policy — effective immediately — continues Disney’s commitment to responsible forest practices and conservation, and will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will focus on paper sourced directly by Disney or on behalf of Disney for use in Disney-branded products and packaging, and the second will address paper sourced by the Company’s independent licensees.
The policy aims to:
- Minimize the consumption of paper
- Eliminate paper products containing irresponsibly harvested fiber, such as fiber from High Conservation Value Areas
- Maximize recycled content and fiber sourced from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forestry operations
Disney will work with non-governmental organizations to identify and prioritize regions with poor forest management and high rates of deforestation. The Company will report its implementation progress on an annual basis.
‘The paper policy is an example of how Disney conducts business in an environmentally and socially responsible way, and demonstrates the Company’s commitment to creating a lasting, positive impact on ecosystems and communities worldwide,’ said Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president, Disney Corporate Citizenship, Environment and Conservation.
Disney sought input from stakeholders throughout the supply chain and from the environmental community in the formulation of its paper policy. Disney will continue to solicit ongoing feedback as the policy is implemented.
‘We commend Disney for adding its significant voice to the growing chorus of companies demonstrating that there’s no need to sacrifice endangered forests or animals for the paper we use every day. This policy will have a particularly important impact in Indonesia, the primary place where rainforests are still being cut down for pulp and paper,’ said Rebecca Tarbotton, executive director of Rainforest Action Network, which worked with Disney on the policy.
The new policy continues Disney’s legacy of supporting forest and nature conservation. Over the last two decades, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has invested in conservation programs in 112 countries, including more than 70 projects in Indonesia to protect the Sumatran rainforest and work with villages to effectively manage critical forest habitats. Since 2009, Disney has also invested more than $27 million in forest carbon projects in the United States, Peru, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, and China.
‘The world’s forests are facing multiple pressures. Disney’s actions to better understand its paper usage and supply chain send a positive signal that the company recognizes the seriousness of this issue,’ said Ruth Nogueron, associate, World Resources Institute. ‘This is a welcome step that reflects Disney’s commitment to support responsible forest management.’
Roshon Fegan and Caroline Sunshine, stars of the hit Disney Channel series “Shake It Up,” will help spread the word about Disney Friends for Change program expansion, aimed to inspire kids and families to make a difference in their world by taking actions to help people, their communities and the planet. The young actors are featured in interstitials debuting Thursday, January 19 on Disney Channel. The messages invite kids to design their own service project and apply for a Disney Friends for Change Grant from Youth Service America at Disney.com/Friends to help put their ideas into action.
This year, Friends for Change is expanding and broadening efforts to not only help the planet, but to also make a lasting, positive impact on the people and animals that live on it. In communities across the globe, kids and families can organize and design projects such as organizing a food collection, planting a community garden or starting a Friends for Change club.
Kids and families are invited to visit Disney.com/Friends for additional ideas on how to make a difference, learn more about applying for a Friends for Change grant and find out about local service activities and events happening in their communities. Kids are also encouraged to make a Friends for Change pledge. In addition, project champions can check out the Friends for Change Action Kits.
Friends for Change is a multi-platform initiative that inspires kids and families to join together and make a positive impact on their world by helping people, communities and the planet. And while these activities may vary, they are united by an overarching emphasis on fostering creativity, conservation and compassion. Through PSAs on-air and online action kits, the program aims to provide useful resources to encourage kids to make small changes that add up to big differences. Friends for Change, along with Youth Service America provide grants to support youth-service projects in communities across the world. Friends for Change currently has almost five million actions taking place from kids in 33 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, China and the United States. For more information, please visit Disney.com/friends.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund is responding immediately to needs of the Jane Goodall Institute and the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance to protect endangered chimpanzees in Africa.
The Jane Goodall Institute was awarded $5,000 for veterinary supplies to vaccinate chimpanzees and staff against a dangerous measles outbreak at the Tchimpounga Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chimpanzees are highly susceptible to human diseases, and the high cost of vaccines for 146 chimpanzees and 60 staff members jeopardized the team’s ability to cope with future medical emergencies.
The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) was also awarded $3,000 to assist in the relocation of four orphaned chimpanzees confiscated from smugglers in Sudan. The chimpanzees, Cocoa, Minni, Sarah, and Medina, are all orphans of bushmeat trade and are believed to have been smuggled from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are too young to be able to care for themselves but Minni and the others are adjusting well to their new sanctuary home in Uganda. DWCF helped cover the cost of air travel to relocate the chimpanzees from Sudan to Uganda.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Rapid Response Fund provides emergency funding to wildlife and wild places in the aftermath of disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, and disease outbreaks. Since the beginning of 2011, DWCF has contributed more than $40,000 to emergency relief efforts worldwide including repairing an educational walkway damaged in a storm in Zimbabwe to allow for continued youth conservation education efforts, and supporting the needs of the International Primatological Society and Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums following the devastating earthquake in Japan. The funding for these emergency grants has been provided through a partnership with Disney’s Friends for Change and iTunes, thanks to several anthems created by stars from the Disney Channel. Coinciding with the premiere of the most recent song by Bridgit Mendler, “We can Change the World,” Disney contributed $250,000 to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to help the planet when it needs it most.
The Walt Disney Company today released its second Corporate Citizenship report detailing Disney’s progress on environmental and social impacts. The report also includes the Company’s first set of comprehensive citizenship commitments and goals, aligned around three core principles:
- Act and create in an ethical manner and consider the consequences of our decisions
- Champion the happiness and well-being of kids, parents and families in our endeavors
- Inspire kids, parents, employees, and communities to make a lasting, positive change in the world
“Being a respected global citizen isn’t just good for our employees and the communities in which we operate, it is critical to the growth and success of our business,” said Robert A. Iger, Disney President and CEO. “Our next step is to build upon our existing programs and initiatives by clarifying our commitments and expanding our efforts to track and measure our progress.”
Highlights of the 2010 Report include:
- Announcement of a comprehensive set of commitments and metrics that address Disney’s worldwide business impacts and opportunities.
- Global expansion of programs aimed at inspiring kids, parents, and communities to make a difference in the world. Disney Friends for Change, now in 19 countries, has rallied 2.5 million kids to take pledges for the environment. Disney Magic of Healthy Living, launched in September, partners with parents and kids to make healthy choices simple and fun.
- Investment of $15.5 million in carbon offset projects around the world as part of Disney’s Climate Solutions Fund, the Company’s internal carbon pricing program.
- Release of Disney’s Human Rights Policy Statement, with the aim of more clearly articulating the Company’s commitment to respecting human rights.
- Detailed data and progress updates on Disney’s supply chain and environmental footprint
- Corporate charitable contributions of $198 million, and more than 548,000 hours of VoluntEARS service contributed by Disney employees.
The interactive multimedia report, now available online only at www.disney.com/citizenship2010, includes comprehensive coverage of eight key areas: family entertainment, inspiring kids and communities, nature conservation, environment, community, workplaces, supply chain, and human rights. An interactive map provides insights into Disney’s activities around the world. The report follows the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
The citizenship report anchors a broader suite of publications. Six additional reports provide information on local impacts of our Parks & Resorts segment.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) today announced the latest results of voting by kids on the Disney Friends for Change website. Disney Friends for Change is a multiplatform environmental initiative that helps kids help the planet. This round of voting is the first to include kids from around the world since Disney Friends for Change expanded into Latin America and Europe.
The voting is part of an overall call to action for kids to make a difference in their local communities. Registered participants make personal promises to reduce their impact on the environment by changing their everyday actions. They can also help allocate Disney’s $1 million commitment to fund environmental programs worldwide.
Voting is continuous throughout the year. Kids have the opportunity to vote on five different projects per quarter. Each project is managed by leading environmental nonprofit organizations. The projects are centered on Disney Friends for Change’s four focus areas — climate, habitat, waste and water. With nearly 2.5 million votes, Disney Friends for Change kids have helped direct almost $2 million to 41 projects in 21 countries since the program was launched in May 2009.
The award amount is contingent upon how many votes each project receives. This is the third round of award voting, and the first to include international votes. The results are as follows:
First Place, $100,000 award
BirdLife International, Saving Spoony’s Chinese Wetlands: The project contributes to the conservation of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, a unique and highly threatened migratory shorebird. The project raises awareness among local governments and communities about the importance of the species and of the inter-tidal wetlands that are vital for its survival. This is the third project funded by Disney Friends for Change program in China, totaling $175,000 of support from the program in the country. Other funded projects in China include work supported by The Nature Conservancy as well as Roots and Shoots, a program supervised by the Jane Goodall Institute.
Second Place, $50,000 award
The Nature Conservancy, Protecting Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest: The project trains local students to monitor local wildlife in an effort to protect the rainforest, home to such animals as grizzly bears and wolves. This is the first Disney Friends for Change program funded in Canada.
Third Place, $50,000
Fauna and Flora International, Iberian Lynx Habitat Conservation: Once considered common, the Iberian Lynx is now the rarest of all the cat species. Less than 100 of the Iberian Lynx now live in the wild. The population crash is due to habitat loss in Spain and Portugal and declining numbers of rabbits, the Iberian Lynx’s main food source. Flora and Fauna has purchased land in an effort to increase the rabbit population. The project will also work with local communities and school children to raise awareness about the Iberian Lynx. Fauna and Flora International has received $150,000 from Disney Friends for Change since its launch.
Fourth Place, $25,000
ECOLIFE Foundation, Aquaponic Economics: Going Ape in Cameroon: The ECOLIFE Foundation, in collaboration with Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon, will build a community-based aquaponics system, an eco-friendly tool for raising fish and vegetables. The aim is to educate local residents about critical overhunting issues that are threatening wild gorillas and apes. The aquaponics system yields fish for high-quality protein and enough vegetables to be a source of income for local residents. This is the second Disney Friends for Change grant awarded to ECOLIFE.
Fifth Place, $25,000
Conservation International, Restoring Wetlands in Namaqualand: The project will work with local South African and Namibian communities to help conserve water by repairing damaged pumps and restoring natural ecosystems. Local volunteers will be trained to remove invasive species like poplar trees — which use up large amounts of ground water — and replace them with native vegetation. This award brings the total amount of support received by Conservation International from Disney Friends for Change to more than $50,000.
Since its launch in May 2009, Disney Friends for Change has already inspired more than 2.5 million kids to take more than 3 million actions to improve their environment in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe. Altogether, kids have pledged to save more than 1.5 billion gallons of water, recycle eight million pounds of trash and cut 52 million pounds of carbon emissions.
For more about the programs Disney Friends for Change supports, visit www.disney.com/projectgreen.
Clean Agency has been recognized by Disney Consumer Products by being bestowed with the 2010 Quality Product Award for Sustainability award. As demonstrated in the image to the left, Clean Agency reduced the packaging materials required for the Pooh plush by a whopping 80%.
The plush, manufactured by licensee Dream, continues to have the ability to be precisely positioned on store shelves (sitting on what ironically resembles a toilet in this blog’s opinion) as well as offer the same amount of information, while using far less materials.
According to EnvironmentalLeader.com, the immediate savings as a result of the change is equal to about eight metric tons of cardboard annually based on the existing sales figures for the plush. Because the packaging consumes less physical space, the article also attributes additional potential savings in reduced transportation requirements.
Starting May 30, new on-air messages will begin airing on Disney Channel and Disney XD. They feature nearly forty Disney stars including the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, as well as young environmental heroes. The spots will also be featured on Radio Disney and the recently redesigned program website, www.Disney.com/projectgreen.
The aim of this ambitious movement is to empower children to take charge when it comes to the environment, whether it’s their own piece of the planet or a big picture approach.
“With Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green, kids are discovering that helping the planet is easy and fun when they work together and have the right tools,” said Jennifer Anopolsky, senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company. “In just one year, participation has exceeded our wildest expectations and we’re building on that momentum by extending Friends for Change to kids in other parts of the world and enhancing the program with fresh new content, local community events, and more grant money that will empower kids with even more ways to get involved.”
Twelve months after the launch of Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green, kids have made nearly two million personal promises to change their daily routines, from unplugging electrical devices when not in use, to taking shorter showers.
Kids can also go global with their votes on where to allocate Disney grant money. As a result, one million dollars in grants from Disney are now supporting 25 critical environmental projects around the world.
With the new videos and web content debuting May 30, young people will learn even more ways to recycle, save water, help habitats and reduce energy consumption. They will also have the opportunity to again vote on how another $1 million in grants will support worthy environmental causes throughout the year.
Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green is setting the pace for environmental initiative. With nearly two million promises, kids have pledged to:
- Cut 70,000 tons of carbon emissions annually
- Reduce/recycle 2.4 million pounds of trash annually
- Save 120 million gallons of water per month
Kids are also learning about the power of their vote. Thanks to their input, Disney has donated more than one million dollars to 25 environmental projects in 15 countries, including:
- $50,000 to the National Resource Council to help fund a forest restoration project in Costa Rica.
- $25,000 to the African Wildlife Foundation to help protect elephant habitats in Zambia.
Kids can turn their own local environmental project into a reality. Disney’s Friends for Change grants, in collaboration with Youth Service America, provide seed money to help get them started. The next call for grant applications opens June 7. To date, these grants have positively influenced nearly 8,000 kids. See http://www.youthserviceamerica.org/grants/programs/friends-for-change for more information.
Kids can also help raise money through iTunes downloads of Disney’s Friends for Change anthems Send It On and Make A Wave. At last count, nearly $700,000, representing 100-percent of download proceeds, have been contributed to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green is set expand locally and globally in the coming year:
- Local events in cities across the country will inspire kids through hands-on experiences including tree-planting and clean-ups. The first event kicks off June 6th, World Oceans Day, at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
- Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green launched last month in Latin America. Kids have already made more than 200,000 promises! European markets are next in line.
In issuing its second report on the environmentality of several cruise lines, grassroots environmental watchdog group Friends of the Earth has distinguished Disney Cruise Lines as being ‘most improved’ for its improvements in sewage treatment over the past year. Continuing to use its odd letter-slash-pass/fail system to rate large cruise lines and their ships, Disney Cruise Line rose to a C- rating from a solid F in last year’s report.
With new advanced sewage treatment systems, it’s lack of shoreside power that keeps DCL from earning a top score (at least until its excursions into Alaska begin). The inability to power the ship directly from the ports means that the ship must burn off ‘dirty fuel’ while docked in order to provide electricity to the ship.
Disney Cruise Line has told the organization that the Disney Wonder will be upgraded to be able to operate on shoreside power when docked by the end of 2010 and that both the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will offer shoreside power as well as the advanced sewage treatment systems.
For more information on the Disney Cruise Line rating as well as those of other cruise lines, visit the report’s methodology page.
Disney Cruise Line will roll out the blue carpet to premiere Disneynature’s newest film, “Oceans,” aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder today. In honor of Earth Day, Disney Cruise Line will make a $3,000 donation on behalf of all guests, cast and crew members to The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt a Coral Reef program, protecting coral reefs in The Bahamas.
“Oceans” follows last year’s record-breaking film “Earth,” and features spectacular, never-before-seen imagery captured by the latest underwater technologies. Disney Cruise Line crew members will also raise additional funds through a “Walk for Oceans,” a late-night fundraiser that has become an annual tradition onboard the ships.
“The Bahamas have been home to Disney ships, and our private island, Castaway Cay, for more than a decade,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “We have built significant long-standing relationships throughout the islands and care deeply about maintaining and preserving these precious ecosystems for all of us to enjoy today and in the future. We are proud to be involved with The Nature Conservancy’s program to give back in such a meaningful way.”