Santa Barbara CA -- I'm reporting from a resort in Southern California at the Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics meeting.  It's a high-end venue and a high-powered group of attendees: DOE Secretary Chu, Robert Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney, T. Boone Pickens (note: address him as Boone, not as "T."), John Doerr, Vinod Khosla and the rest of the greentech venture capital cabal from MDV, Firelake, Mayfield, Foundation -- the usual suspects. 

The conference kicked off with a video of Hannah Montana letting us know that saving the planet would be like totally awesome and we should clean up beaches.  That was followed by the man responsible for the video, Robert A. Iger, the President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, in a discussion with Robert Thomson, the Editor-in-Chief, Dow Jones Company, and Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Iger wants Disney "to be the most admired company in the world."

He's been hearing an increase in environmental awareness from moms and kids -- two of Disney's key demographics.  Iger said, "More and more, we sense this is an important issue, whether people are buying our products or owning our stock."   He added, "We consider this a significant growth initiative -- it's the right thing to for the planet but it's also the right thing to do for shareholders."

Disneyworld encompasses 43 square miles, according to Iger and is "the size of a small country" with an enormous fleet of vehicles, millions of gallons of water usage, thousands of hotel rooms, and tons of waste.  One hundred million people visit the company's theme parks on an annual basis.

According to Iger, the firm "is aware of the footprint we have as a company."  He adds, "We've spent a significant amount of time getting our own house in order."  Disney has created a council with the heads of many business units, with the goal of lessening the company's impact on the environment.  They take inventory, identify targets and measure their progress.

They've created a sort of "internal tax" where each business unit is charged and incentivized based on their carbon footprint.  That money goes to create conservation projects or to purchase offsets.

"This is good for the company from a brand perspective and from a shareholder perspective," said the CEO.

"Our primary goal is to reduce our consumption," said Iger, "But we don't feel guilty about growing as a company."  Disney has increased attendance at the parks without increasing water usage -- Iger claims that their water usage is the same as it was 20 years ago.

One last note: somehow the subject of tattoos came up and according to Iger,  Hannah Montana has no tattoos "that he knows of," and he has "yet to check the Jonas Brothers."

More details from the conference to come.