Championing Environmental Change

Filed in: About WDW, Beyond the Theme Parks, Cast Members, Making a Difference, Offbeat & Unexpected, Walt Disney World Resort

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – April 20, 2017 – Cast Members throughout Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are encouraged to keep nature beautiful by reducing waste, using water responsibly and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But recently, Disney enhanced its environmental commitment by recognizing Cast Members around the world as Disney Environmental Champions of the Year.

In the program’s inaugural year in Central Florida, three sets of recipients earned the award: one as an individual and another as a team at Walt Disney World Resort, as well as a food and beverage, sourcing and procurement team at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

‘Can-do’ attitude

Ica De Pass, a custodial and duty manager for Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts, was recognized for his efforts in leading Cast Members to keep a sharp focus on correctly recycling materials. As part of a pilot program, waste reduction coordinators started working with Ica to identify opportunities to increase recycling efforts.

“I get the Cast involved in this process by showing them what items go into the proper containers as well as trying to make them aware of the impact of the items on the environment,” Ica said.

The personal engagement with his team is what makes the difference, said Jeff Korte, general manager at Pop Century Resort.

“Ica demonstrates a passion for the environment and a “can-do attitude,” Jeff said. “We would not have been nearly as successful if it were not for the dedication Ica shows in teaching our Cast Members.”

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 Fueled by change

Have you noticed a Mickey Mouse-inspired green leaf sticker on the back of buses at Walt Disney World Resort? That small sticker represents the large amount of work done by Cast Members on the Transportation Engineering Services team to convert all guest buses to renewable diesel.

By partnering with Walt Disney Imagineering, environmental services, and facility and operations services, the team has helped reduce by about 50 percent the amount of greenhouse gases contributed to the environment by our Guest buses. The switch to “R51” (a fuel mix comprised of 51% renewable diesel primarily made from used cooking oil and grease) officially took place on Earth Day 2015.

Each month, the group is responsible for ordering, testing and maintaining a large fuel supply that fuels the more than 380 buses that transport our guests.

“We’re not here for just a generation,” said Kevin Schultz, director of Transportation Engineering Services. “We must leave the earth in a good place for everyone and for future generations.”

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Sustainable seafood success

In 2014, the team established a goal to convert the majority of seafood options served in domestic Disney Parks and Resorts and Disney Cruise Line to being sustainably sourced by 2020. The group surpassed that target, achieving 67 percent sustainable seafood as of December 2016.

Partnering with the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership programs, the team created a plan to continually educate chefs on sustainable product options for recipes and contact vendors to gather additional data about seafood sourcing.

Derrick Guss, strategic source specialist, says the ability to trace seafood back to the boat or farm is a key part in the team’s sustainable efforts.

“The work we do to influence change in the industry helps strengthen the ability for seafood to be available for generations to come,” he said. “Our sustainable sourcing strategy addresses the need to improve fisheries around the globe.”

Kara Cressey and Cheryl Dolven led the group’s efforts as food and beverage managers of health and wellness. Kara helped set up a structure for how to track progress toward goal and get all parts of the supply chain and culinary teams on board.

“I am so proud of this team and their efforts to increase sustainable seafood offerings at our domestic parks and resorts,” Kara said. “They did it twice as fast as planned. It’s a credit to everyone’s commitment to do what is right for the environment and right for our business.”

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