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Alice Pays a Carbon Tax in Wonderland

Alice Pays a Carbon Tax in Wonderland

Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Red Queen aren’t waiting around for the climate bill. According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney is making the company’s business units pay an internal tax based on how much carbon they use.

That means Alice in Wonderland’s filmmakers needed to think about everything from the commute miles for Johnny Depp’s makeup artists, to buying local/organic for the on-set buffets. The more emissions they reduced or avoided, the less they had to pay into Disney’s internal carbon fund.

“It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”
What an amazingly refreshing approach. Assigning a true cost to business activities is the best way to encourage greener behavior, and using the money for mitigation balances these activities with an equal measure of environmental stewardship, at least in the case of carbon. I particularly like that each business unit makes their own decisions on the feasibility and economic practicality of reducing vs. offsetting specific activities, rather than being shoe-horned into a one size fits all policy.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
- Cheshire Cat
The key to this sort of voluntary program is transparency on both the  measurement and reduction/offsetting sides of the equation. To be credible, Disney will need to share much more of their eco-info in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports. The program leaves lots of unanswered questions: How did they calculate each business unit’s footprint? What were the organizational ‘boundaries’? What is the internal price of carbon? Where does the money go? They have typically partnered with very well respected NGOs, so I suspect that they are doing a reasonable job, but when it comes to corporate behavior, show me…don’t just tell me.

It’s very easy to take more than nothing.
- Mad Hatter
CEO Bob Iger sees a strong need for Disney to practice environmental stewardship. In a recent interview, he pointed out that it is an “Issue of interest” to consumers, employees and shareholders. But, as Iger was asked, can a company that’s focused on leisure travel and consumption be green? In other words, isn’t Disney inherently a fundamentally eco-flawed enterprise?  On this point, Iger was very clear an unapologetic: “Life is to be enjoyed….we don’t feel guilty about growth, but we can grow in a responsible way…At least the consumption we promote in the future is better for the environment.”

Be what you would seem to be — or, if you’d like it put more simply — Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.
- The Duchess
So is Disney the kind of firm that can lead us into a green tomorrowland, or are they doomed to forever encourage us to take another bite out of the poison apple? What do you think?

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Official Alice in Wonderland Wallpaper Image, copyright Disney Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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11:43PM PDT on Oct 12, 2013

Thank you.

11:42PM PDT on Oct 12, 2013

Thank you.

11:41PM PDT on Oct 12, 2013

Thank you.

11:41PM PDT on Oct 12, 2013

Thank you.

6:24PM PDT on Mar 21, 2010

I need to see that weird movie with the disproportionate head, body sizes and exaggerations, the story changed because now Alice is 18. Mad Hatter is crazy because of possibly mercury poisoning. Eccentricity...

12:21PM PDT on Mar 21, 2010

It's a big step to the revolution, the awakening of consciousness, i think now exist a bigest presion of the people to the change about it.

12:13PM PDT on Mar 18, 2010

Good news is always welcome.. and may Disney lead the way for many others to see that being green can still make a profit..

10:03AM PDT on Mar 16, 2010

Great article

3:28AM PDT on Mar 16, 2010

Interesting...we shall wait and see what impacts this has, and how beneficial it is...

4:16PM PDT on Mar 15, 2010

The entertainment industry is in a unique position of having both significant wealth as well as a social consciousness, so positive efforts such as this can have much impact as well as setting an example for other wealthy industries to follow suit.

In fact, if other industries don't follow this lead, it will show enough contrast to make their greed all the more obvious when they could have the means and opportunity to make positive changes.

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