Walt Disney once said, “The land itself—should be as dear to us all as our political heritage and our treasured way of life. Its preservation and the wise conservation of its renewable resources concerns every man, woman and child whose possession it is.”
Disney’s environmental legacy is as long as the Company’s timeline. We believe our actions as a company must meet the standard set by the stories we tell. Disney has filled this role through the responsible actions it has taken as a company, including efforts to use resources wisely and conserve nature as the Company operates and grows.
Forests have always played a healing role in nature. They provide us with fresh air, filter toxins out of water sources and prevent erosion. They are also home to millions of animals, critters and communities.
Disney Environmental and Conservation Manager Lisa Shibata, who has traveled around the world to oversee projects that are impacting some of our most precious habitats recently spoke about Disney’s commitment to forests.
Can you tell us about the Disney Climate Solutions Fund and how it supports forest projects around the world?
Lisa Shibata (LS):The Disney Climate Solutions Fund is one of the tools the Company uses to address climate change. We charge our businesses for the greenhouse gas emissions they generate, and the dollars are what make up the Climate Solutions Fund. With the fund, Disney can use this money to invest in forestry projects like reforestation and projects that use improved forest management techniques, such as removing unhealthy trees so that healthy ones can thrive. Our projects are located around the world including here in California and as far away as Inner Mongolia. Since 2009, Disney has invested $48 million in carbon-offset projects. We’ve invested in more than 147,000 acres of forested land—the equivalent of four Walt Disney World parks!
Why is investing in and restoring forests so important to Disney?
LS: Disney has a long legacy of environmental conservation, and protecting the planet for future generations is a priority for us. Through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, we have supported conservation projects for almost 20 years, invested in conservation programs in 114 countries and worked with forest communities to protect wildlife and critical forest habitats. We are continuing our commitment to forests by investing in forestry projects to curb climate change. Forests also provide habitats for wildlife and serve as a place for people to connect with nature.
You recently visited projects in Mexico and China. How are Disney’s investments making a difference in each area?
LS: The Mexico project is taking place on land owned by a local community without many economic resources. With Disney’s investment, the community of San Juan Lachao can protect 10,000 acres of their forest, and nearly 100 local jobs have been created to support the project. In China, we are planting trees in areas adjacent to ecological reserves. Doing so provides more corridors for wildlife to travel safely and protects the watershed from further degradation. And some of our reforestation projects are right in the middle of key habitat for pandas. It was incredible to see these beautiful animals and know that we are helping to protect the place they call home.