Conservation AcquisitionBusiness Partnerships

Disney’s zero emissions goal results in positive impact for forests

Disney logo
Walt Disney had a personal passion for conserving natural resources, building a legacy that today continues to inspire children and families to join The Walt Disney Company (Disney) in caring for the environment. Disney recognizes that our future depends upon nature and a healthy planet. None of that is possible without healthy forests. Through investments in The Conservation Fund’s high-quality forest-based carbon credits, Disney is striving to meet its long-term goal of attaining “zero” net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Together we are protecting and restoring forests that clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink and create places to play for wildlife and people alike.

Challenges

  • Meet the company’s sustainability goals, including net-zero emissions, by protecting and restoring forests that benefit wildlife, air quality, water and local economies.
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment and communities by finding innovative solutions to confront climate change.

Solutions

Disney and The Conservation Fund teamed up in 2009 to protect forests on the North Coast of California, known for its iconic redwoods. Here, decades of aggressive timber harvesting left the landscape and the economy bruised and battered. Rivers and streams—important to endangered salmon and steelhead trout—were clogged with sediment from eroding logging roads.

With leadership from Disney and others, The Conservation Fund has pioneered a new approach to land conservation in California by becoming the first nonprofit to own and sustainably operate a large working forest. Carbon credit investments have enabled the Fund to implement improved forest management practices that include decreasing the intensity of timber harvests, increasing the time between harvests and widening riverfront buffers to improve water quality in streams impaired by erosion. We sell carbon credits that result from the improved operations, allowing us to generate further income for restoration activities and additional forestland conservation.

“Disney understands that protecting and restoring forests may be one of the most important environmental challenges of our time. Forests clean the air we breathe, filter more than half of the water we drink, and provide homes for wildlife and people alike. We applaud Disney for its leadership to protect and restore our nation’s forests. Its climate commitments are inspiring others to do more and be better stewards of the environment each and every day.”

Jena Thompson Meredith, Vice President, Business Partnerships The Conservation Fund


Disney The Conservation Fund            
Lauren Fety, Jena Thompson Meredith, Lisa Shibata, Holly Newberger. Salmon Creek Forest 2016.
Photo: Scott Kelly


Results

Disney’s industry-leading targets and investments help The Conservation Fund protect nearly 75,000 acres of redwood and Douglas fir forests in Northern California that encompasses one of the largest river systems in the area. By operating these forests sustainably, we’re:

  • Restoring conditions of more than 120 miles of stream, which provide habitat for endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout, and supply drinking water to nearby communities.
  • Safeguarding habitat for 36 northern spotted owls, a threatened species, as well as other rare plants and animals.
  • Rebuilding commercial timber inventories that generate more than $4 million a year in economic support for the local community.
  • Maintaining other ecosystem services and providing climate benefits.

“Disney has a long legacy of environmental conservation, and protecting the planet for future generations is a priority for us. We have supported conservation projects for almost 20 years and worked with forest communities to protect wildlife and critical habitats. We are continuing our commitment to forest by investing in forestry projects to curb climate change.”

—Lisa Shibata, Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship, Disney

Looking Forward

More than 45 million acres of working forests are at risk in the U.S. alone, jeopardizing millions of jobs, billions of dollars to our economy, countless acres of wildlife habitat and immeasurable benefits to our health. If we’re to make significant strides in protection and restoration of our forests at scale, we will need leaders like Disney who believe that business and the environment are strongest when they work together.