Disney characters appear on products in a wide array of categories, including apparel, books, toys, DVDs, CDs, electronics, food, health and beauty items, and home décor items. These products are created and brought to market through different supply chains and sourcing relationships. In some cases, such as the merchandise at Disney Stores and theme parks, we have direct relationships with manufacturers and transportation companies. In others, Disney-branded products are designed, manufactured and transported by licensees using a large and geographically diverse network of facilities, and sold to consumers by independent retailers. To learn more about Disney’s supply chain, please visit the Supply Chain section.

Many Disney business units have individual environmental initiatives to address the various elements of the product lifecycle, including raw materials, packaging, manufacturing, transportation and consumer communications. In 2010, the Company came together to develop some common approaches and targets around our overall product footprint.

As we explore all aspects of the product lifecycle through business unit-led initiatives, we are focusing our companywide targets on two areas in particular: the sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing. These parts of the product lifecycle are significant contributors to a product’s overall environmental impact. Our immediate focus is on products the Company sells directly to consumers. Licensed products will be addressed in a later phase.

Raw Materials

Nature conservation is a top Disney priority. To support our commitment to nature conservation, an initial focus of our product footprint strategy is reducing raw materials that have a direct impact on forests and ecosystems. We chose to begin with paper-based products and packaging. In the U.S. alone, our Disney Publishing business produces 50 million books and 30 million magazines annually. We also directly source and distribute ESPN The Magazine and Hyperion books, as well as various paper products such as stationery and autograph books in our Disney Stores and theme parks.

During fiscal year 2010 we set targets for sustainable paper use:

Disney seeks to have 100% of paper sourced for product and packaging by its non-licensed businesses be sustainable. The paper sourced will contain recycled content, be sourced from certified forests1, or be of known source origin2.

  • By the end of FY 2011, all paper used in paper-based books and magazines by Disney’s non-licensed North American publishing businesses3 will fully meet the target.
  • By the end of FY 2011, all other non-licensed businesses4 will identify a timeline for achieving the target.

  1. “Certified forests:” In pursuit of responsible paper use, Disney shall accept certification documentation for recycled and virgin paper from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification Claims (PEFC), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Additional certification systems may be evaluated by Disney on a case-by-case basis.
  2. “Known Source Origin:” For the purpose of responsible purchasing, a “known source” designation means the purchaser has been informed of where the timber was grown, and has determined that the source is not unwanted (e.g., illegally harvested).
  3. Disney Publishing Books and Magazines, Hyperion, and ESPN Magazines. Some of these books and magazines include inserts that are provided by advertisers or other third parties. At this time the goal does not extend to such inserts.
  4. Non-licensed businesses include: Disney Book Group (U.S.), Disney Libri (Italy), Libros Disney (Spain and Portugal), Theme Parks Merchandise (North America, Europe, Hong Kong), Disney Stores (North America, Europe, Japan), Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, and Walt Disney Music Group.


Given the large scope of our supply chain, we can significantly amplify our internal sustainability initiatives by engaging product manufacturing vendors. To support this effort, we adopted the following targets:

In our non-licensed businesses1, Disney strives to work with suppliers that are committed to environmental responsibility and are able to show improvement in environmental performance

  • By the end of FY 2011, strategic suppliers2 of key product lines3 will complete an Environmental Responsibility Index4 survey. The survey will be set as a baseline for measuring future improvement
  • By the end of FY 2011, identify key product lines/categories to be measured for improvement
  • By the end of FY 2014, Strategic suppliers in plush, apparel, and other selected product lines5 will have demonstrated continued improvement in environmental performance

  1. The manufacturing goal applies to Disney Theme Parks Merchandise North America and Disney Store North America.
  2. “Strategic suppliers” are suppliers that represent the top 50% of the supplier base for the key product lines.
  3. ”Key Product Lines” are the product lines that make up the top 80% by volume of total business.
  4. The “Environmental Responsibility Index survey” refers to a set of questions that are being used to query manufacturers on their environmental practices and policies.
  5. Other select product lines will be defined by end of FY 2011.


Disney and its affiliates in the United States joined the SmartWay EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) program in 2009. The intent of this effort is to collaborate and identify effective action plans to help minimize carbon emissions from transportation. Many domestic carriers used by Disney are SmartWay Partners. We regularly review optimal transportation modes, such as rail and ocean, which will reduce our carbon footprint.

Business Unit Initiatives

Many of our businesses have incorporated sustainability principles into their products. For example:

  • Disney Store North America has introduced organic cotton into T-shirt lines; launched a TrackMyT program encouraging consumers to track cotton from farm to shelf; and is working to incorporate recycled paper into stationery, packaging and gift boxes
  • Disney Store Europe recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) from 1.8 million plastic bottles, converting it into labels, packaging and reusable shopping bags; transitioned product lines, packaging and tags to recycled cardstock; and certified its European Distribution center to ISO 14000 standard, an international standard for environmental management systems
  • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment reduced the weight of a DVD plastic case from 83g to 45g; reduced DVD paper wrap weight from 100# to 80# and converted the wraps to 30% post consumer recycled paper; reduced weight of shipping cartons from 32# to 27#; and optimized transportation routes and modes
  • Disney Parks Supply Chain Management reduced the amount of air space in packaging and/or eliminated the need for retail and shipping packaging; implemented a freight initiative including operating a domestic volume routing program for North America and container loads to the United States; and implemented an Oracle Transportation Management Solution that will enhance our ability to identify available freight inbound and optimize the load type and utilization

Sustainability Consortium

Disney is a founding member of the Sustainability Consortium, an independent organization of diverse global participants. The Consortium works to build a scientific foundation to drive innovation that improves consumer product sustainability through all stages of a product life cycle. We participate on the Consortium’s steering committee, governance task force and consumer science working group.

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