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April 24, 2017

Almost 60 Organizations Call on Disney to Stop Funding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Walt Disney Continues to Fund U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Reactionary Agenda, Despite Opposing Views on Environmental and Public Health Policies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Walt Disney Company should join other Fortune 500 companies, such as Apple, Pacific Gas & Electric and CVS, that have stopped funding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for political, policy and moral reasons, almost 60 non-profits wrote in a letter to Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger today. The groups commend Disney for its public commitments to action on climate change and for refusing to depict casual tobacco use in most of its Disney-branded films. However, with its membership and financial support of the Chamber, Disney is helping to bankroll an organization that actively opposes climate change remedies and promotes making a profit from tobacco.

“It becomes tough to take Disney’s commitments to public health and the environment seriously when Disney continues funding the pro-tobacco and anti-environmental agenda of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” said Daniel Dudis, director of Public Citizen’s Chamber Watch project. “The Chamber’s views do not represent those of Disney, or presumably most of Disney’s customers or shareholders. We think it of the utmost importance for companies like Disney to stop funding the Chamber agenda.”

Disney has made several public commitments on fighting climate change. The company:

  • Signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge in support of the Paris Agreement;
  • Committed to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2020; and
  • Signed the CERES Climate Change Declaration.

Disney has also recognized the severe public health threat posed by the use of tobacco products. It has banned depictions of smoking in all G, PG and PG-13 movies that it produces under its brand, and it does not allow smoking in its theme parks.

Disney’s commitments to combat climate change and smoking are contrary to the Chamber’s anti-climate and pro-tobacco agenda. The Chamber repeatedly has lobbied against legislation and regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the lead plaintiffs against the Clean Power Plan. It also has lobbied against anti-smoking laws and regulations in dozens of countries worldwide.

“Disney’s broad purpose to be a good corporate citizen is completely undermined by its association with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is on record for supporting the interests of Big Tobacco and undermining the public health objectives of numerous countries across the globe. Disney should not allow itself to be viewed as supporting the interests of Big Tobacco corporations over the health of children and adults around the world,” said Laurent Huber, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce not only does the dirty work of the fossil fuel industry, it works on behalf of nearly every infamous and abusive industry out there, from Big Tobacco to Big Ag. Disney can’t have it both ways. To associate with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is to associate with the world’s deadliest and most environmentally destructive industries that, without pause, put profits over people and the planet,” said John Stewart, deputy campaigns director for Corporate Accountability International.

Added Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune, “You can't say you support climate action on one hand and be a member of one of the leading organizations responsible for thwarting it at the same time. That’s simply incompatible. Sadly, right now membership in the Chamber of Commerce is a litmus test: if you’re a member, you’re not serious on climate and are actively part of the problem. Any company that wants to be viewed credibly on climate needs to leave the Chamber, and with haste.”

“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids joins in urging Disney to stop funding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce until the Chamber ends its harmful practices, including helping tobacco companies fight life-saving tobacco control measures in multiple countries,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “The U.S. Chamber’s pro-tobacco activities harm health around the world and sully the name of American business. Responsible corporations should cease association with the Chamber until it changes course.”

Groups that signed on to the letter:

Action on Smoking and Health
African American Ministers In Action (AAMIA)
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO)
Broome Tioga Green Party
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Cancer Aid Society
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Food Safety
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Popular Democracy
Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
Clean Water Action
Compassionate Communication Spokane
Consumer Action
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety
Corporate Accountability International
CREDO Action
Daily Kos
DNF - Les Droits des Non-Fumeurs
Economic Policy Institute
Family Values at Work
Green America
Greenpeace
Health and Trade Network
Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings
Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network
In the Public Interest
Institute for Science and Human Values
Interfaith Worker Justice
Jeewaka Foundation
Labor Project for Working Families
League of Conservation Voters
National Council Against Smoking
National Economic & Social Rights Initiative
National Family Farm Coalition
Non-Smokers’ Rights Association
Oil Change International
OxyRomandie
People Demanding Action
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Progressive Congress Action Fund
Protect All Children's Environment
Public Citizen
Public Justice Center
Rainforest Action Network
RootsAction.org
SafeWork Washington
Sierra Club
Smoke Free Partnership
Social Security Works
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA)
SumOfUS
Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum (TTCF)
The Impact Fund
Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland
U.S. PIRG
Virginia Organizing
Workplace Fairness.

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