BURBANK, CA: WALT DISNEY is to invest $7million (€4.8m; £4.3m) in forestry conservation projects in the Amazon and Congo Basin following high-profile deals with Conservation International, Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Fund.

The move, which comes ahead of next month's Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, marks a significant re-think by the firm, which is now pledged to cut its towering 290,000 tonne waste mountain by 50% over the coming three years.

Most of the Disney money will go towards financing community management of forests, as well as promoting and extending sustainable practices in local villages.

“It is essential to take swift action to preserve our most vulnerable natural environments for future generations and to be innovative in achieving that goal,” said Bob Iger, Disney's chief executive.

As climate change soars to the top of the political agenda, the race to establish green credentials has taken on a new urgency in corporate America.

Marriott International, the hotels chain, last year signed a deal with the Brazilian state of Amazonas involving a ‘carbon offest' programme for its guests. It has also invested in a fund aimed at securing and protecting 1.4m acres of rainforest.

Clear front-runner in all things green however is News Corporation, which now claims to be totally carbon neutral.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff