“We believe that The Walt Disney Company is best placed to take a lead in investing in pragmatic programs that make a real difference for wild lions,” says a letter addressed to Disney CEO, Robert Iger, and penned by non-profit organisations For the Love of Wildlife, Blood Lions and Nature Needs More, requesting conservation contributions from the next Lion King blockbuster.
You may have read in the last week, that after a meeting with leading conservation groups Disney has announced a $3 million contribution to lion conservation.
But let’s interrogate this, in the lead up to the July 2019 Lion King launch. An initial donation of US$1.5 million has been made with a promise of about $1.5 million to follow.
1. Firstly, US$1.5 million is less than 0.02% of what Disney has made from the Lion King franchise to date.
2. If you add in the US$13 million Disney has donated to conservation programs across Africa since 1995, then the donations to-date amount to less than 0.2% of what Disney has made from the Lion King franchise.
3. Most concerning is that much of what they are offering is based on up front spending of “fans” and customers, US $5 from every Simba toy sold, $2 from every ride taken at Disney Animal Kingdom, which leaves you asking…who is really donating, the company or the “fans”?
More worryingly is that fact that we are told that conservation most respected organisations were part of the round-table with Disney to negotiate this donation. We must assume that these conservation brands have very little ability to influence when between them they have only been able to liberate such a paltry amount from this corporate giant, whose reputation and brand are both devalued by this shamefully cheap gesture.
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