Corporate Responsibility Policy
Last updated: October 20, 2023
The National Geographic Society uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world, and, to that end, we are committed to conducting our business as sustainably and responsibly as possible both in our direct actions and in our impacts through those who engage with us, including suppliers, licensees, affiliates, explorers, and donors (collectively referred to as “business collaborators”).
All references to National Geographic are intended to include both the National Geographic Society, the licensee National Geographic Partners, LLC, and affiliates of The Walt Disney Company (“NGP/Disney”) involved in the creation of National Geographic-branded activities, products, and services.
This Corporate Responsibility Policy defines the standards of conduct for the Society’s employees and its business collaborators. We expect our licensee, NGP/Disney, and their business collaborators to comply in the production and distribution of any National Geographic-branded product, service, activity or activation. To the extent that a contract with a business collaborator does not involve a specific business activity (like paper manufacturing), that portion of the Corporate Responsibility Policy does not apply to the specific transaction. To the extent that a business collaborator has a more robust policy for a certain business activity, on a case-by-case basis National Geographic may agree that the more robust policy applies.
Except as noted in this Section Disney’s ESG policies (linked at impact.disney.com), which includes Disney’s Corporate Social Responsibility policies with its ESG reporting, aligns with the National Geographic Corporate Responsibility Policy and Sustainability Guidelines, which includes monitoring for affiliates compliance. If Disney makes any changes to its Corporate Social Responsibility, the Society will have the opportunity to determine if such change applies prospectively to National Geographic-branded products.
Corporate Responsibility Statement
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
To combat global climate change, National Geographic’s primary environmental focus is to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for which it is responsible. We are committed to identifying and measuring both the GHG we emit directly and the GHG that our business collaborators emit on our behalf in creating National Geographic branded activities, products, or services. We are committed to continually reducing our overall emissions and exploring opportunities to mitigate our emissions.
To that end, National Geographic measures and takes steps to reduce:
- Our use of fossil fuels and water.
- Our waste, which we reduce, reuse, compost, and recycle as much as possible to divert it from landfills.
- The emissions of all of our owned and rented spaces.
- The emissions of our business travel.
- The emissions associated with National Geographic-branded products, including marketing, print and digital media, film and television, consumer products, and travel products.
We know that National Geographic activities, products, and services all come with some emissions burden, and, in some cases, we seek independently audited and certified carbon offsets, including from projects supporting the work of our explorers.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost
National Geographic makes a concerted effort to reduce all types of waste in its operations. For the waste we do produce, we believe in reusing all that we can and composting or recycling that which cannot be reused. National Geographic facilities manage assets in a manner consistent with best practices, all local, state and federal regulations, and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) requirements. When buying office or building supplies, we seek materials made from recycled products when feasible.
To ensure that office and building materials are reused, composted and recycled efficiently and properly, National Geographic employees managed directly either by the Society or NGP/Disney are asked to abide by our organizational policies on sustainable disposal. We encourage these same practices in our tenants, customers, and business collaborations. National Geographic-branded products should be designed to enable reuse or recycling when customers have finished with them.
The National Geographic Society measures, manages, and reduces energy use at Society facilities in order to create more efficient and safer workplaces as well as to maintain or improve upon the performance of our headquarters as United States Green Building Council (“USGBC”) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) Gold Certified and Energy Star rated or an equivalent rating. To do so, we need the help of all employees and tenants in our buildings, and therefore ask them to abide by the facility sustainability and energy guidelines.
The National Geographic Society encourages sustainable business travel practices in our operations, including:
- Using the most fuel-efficient, low-emission, and economical transportation.
- Combining multiple tasks into one trip.
- Using mass transit in lieu of taxis or rental cars.
- Sharing vehicles among as many travelers as practical.
- Staying in LEED- or green-certified hotels when possible.
- Traveling only when absolutely necessary, prioritizing web conferencing and digital communications tools as possible.
Business Collaborators Resource Use
The National Geographic Society licenses its trademarks and intellectual property content to business collaborators, which includes NGP/Disney and their respective licensees in support of its mission to illuminate and protect our world through science, exploration, education, and storytelling. The Society is committed to working with its business collaborators to ensure that their use of resources is sustainable. It is our goal to hold regular meetings to review their sustainability policies and encourage them to engage in conservation and efficiency measures for their water and energy use, to increase the utilization of renewable energy sources, and to minimize waste.
For the creation of National Geographic-branded activities, products, and services, we select business collaborators who demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement in pollution prevention and source reduction that meets or exceeds legal requirements in order to minimize the negative environmental impact of their operations on the air, water and climate.
Our business collaborators are expected to engage in or actively work towards the following:
- Measure and reduce their GHG emissions.
- Strive to reduce their negative environmental impact on an ongoing basis.
- Reduce their use of energy in the operation of their business where possible.
- Use alternative renewable energy sources where practical.
- Demonstrate that they have an active recycling program.
- Have an active, ongoing sustainability program in which their employees are encouraged to participate. □ Commit to using recycled-content products where practical as part of their materials-sourcing practice.
- Maximize their use of recycled fiber where practical and possible.
- Use only legally sourced and, where possible, certified raw materials in their operations.
- Subscribe to and participate in credible chain-of-custody certification programs for renewable resources.
- Regularly certify that chain-of-custody programs are or can be third-party audited, and that such audits are conducted with management signoff.
- Comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and permits.
- In the case of paper suppliers, ensure and verify that all paper is elemental chlorine free, through appropriate certification or documentation.
Photo credits: Manu San Félix