To say 2020 was an unusual year for companies around the globe is an understatement of all understatements. As you would expect, the Walt Disney Company was impacted by the pandemic in a number of ways including severe changes to the parks and movies divisions. But that doesn’t mean Disney has given up on its social responsibility efforts.
“We remain deeply committed to doing our part to ensure that in growing our businesses, we are always operating with the utmost integrity, taking care of our people and doing good in our world,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer.
The report highlights Disney’s social and environmental stewardship efforts including: its response to the COVID-19 pandemic; increased emphasis on Diversity & Inclusion; and additional focus on the Company’s new 2030 environmental goals.
“Our commitment to corporate responsibility is fundamental to our culture, and aligns with the growing calls for businesses to take action,” said Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “This year we met our 2020 environmental goals and set ambitious new 2030 goals, accelerated our initiatives addressing racial and social injustice, and we continue to strengthen our ESG transparency.”
Here are some highlights from this year’s report:
Responding to COVID-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic had a tragic impact around the globe, Disney has worked to promote the safety and well-being of its employees and guests. Disney has also been active in the community in a number of campaigns.
These include: Feed the Love, with talent from ABC, Freeform, FX, National Geographic, ESPN and A&E, which raised awareness and nearly $2.8 million in donations to Feeding America’s food security efforts. Also, Disney Theatrical Group, in collaboration with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, created virtual events such as Disney on Broadway’s 25th Anniversary Concert, collectively raising more than $615,000 for COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Funds.
Among in-kind support, Disney donated $27 millions worth of PPE from closed parks and production sets early in the pandemic.
The Company also sent 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare to help protect nurses’ clothing along with a $1 million donation in connection with sales of U.S. cloth face masks. More than 100,000 N95 masks were sent to healthcare workers in New York, California, Florida and Washington, D.C. And Star India made a cash contribution to Project Mumbai to supply 150,000 urgently requested PPE kits for healthcare providers in Mumbai hospitals.
Advancing Social Equity
Disney strengthened its already strong commitment to Diversity and Inclusion in 2020. This included CEO Bob Chapek launching a new initiative composed of six pillars focused on increasing D&I: Transparency, Representation, Accountability, Community, Content and Culture. The Company also announced a new CEO D&I Council, led by Bob Chapek, and a Creative Inclusion Council, led by Bob Iger, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board. Both councils are co-chaired by Latondra Newton, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer.
Disney put their money where their mouth is and pledged $5 million to nonprofit organizations that support black communities and to advance social justice efforts.
As part of that pledge, TWDC has made commitments to the NAACP and other organizations such as Equal Justice Initiative and the United Negro College Fund.
Importantly, Disney’s Content Groups have committed to inclusive and authentic storytelling across our brands and are working to increase diversity in creative roles both in front of and behind the camera.
Disney is already working toward a net zero GreenHouse Gas emissions goal. The short term goal was to reduce emissions by 50% and it met that goal in 2020. In 10 years, they hope to achieve net zero emissions for all direct operations.
To reach these goals, Disney intends to focus on the following areas: climate and energy, water and oceans, waste, materials and sustainable building design.
Among other things, this means achieving 100 percent zero carbon electricity by 2030 and investment in natural climate solutions; localized watershed stewardship strategies; zero waste to landfill for the Company’s wholly owned and operated parks and resorts; at least 30 percent recycled plastic in products and packaging; and 90 percent diversion for construction waste for projects in the U.S. and Europe.
This is ambitious, but is the sort of environmental leadership we need to see from companies like Disney.
To learn more about the Walt Disney Company’s efforts to operate an honorable business and be a good corporate citizen, download and read the full 2020 report.