Toyota’s Long-Term Environmental Approach

This undertaking is not just about planting flowers and making sure that there is no wasted water. Rather, it encompasses everything from the development of new vehicles with reduced emissions—from more hybrids to fuel-cell vehicles—to minimizing waste from all of its manu-
facturing plants.

Consider this:

“In the U.S., 30 percent of crop production depends on pollinators. Of this, honey bees are responsible for almost 80 percent of all crop pollination. The monetary value of honey bees as commercial pollinators is estimated at about $15 billion annually.

“Declines in the diversity of flowering plants, loss and degradation of habitat, introduction of non-native species, toxicity and widespread use of pesticides, air pollution and climate change all play a role in the decline of pollinator populations. For example, the Monarch butterfly population has declined 90 percent over the past two decades.”

Where do you think that came from? The Sierra Club or the Nature Conservancy or the like?

No.

It is from Toyota Motor North America (TMNA), from its “Biodiversity Position Statement.”

Realize that Toyota has 15 manufacturing plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, which are on more than 21,000 acres of land. And some of those sites are along the migration pathway of the Monarch. So the 10 plants where there is migration there have been pollinator gardens planted.

And speaking of plants, the facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, Toyota’s single largest manufacturing complex in terms of production, has two endangered plant species on the property, so team members are working to protect them.

This is not just some sort of undertaking that’s being made by TMNA on an ad-hoc basis. This is part of the Toyota Global Environmental Challenge 2050, an initiative that Toyota facilities across the planet. When it was announced in October 2015, Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of the Board of Directors of Toyota Motor Corp., said, “We have focused on environmental issues as one of the top-priority managerial issues.”

That they are giving this a 35-year timeframe speaks both to Toyota’s long-term view in many of its undertakings, as well as the magnitude of the challenge.

There are six challenges that are being addressed by Toyota to achieve not simply a reduction of its environmental impact on the planet but a positive net effect. They are:
1. Eliminate almost all CO2 emissions from new Toyota vehicles.
2. Eliminate all CO2 emissions from the manufacturing of parts and materials used to produce new Toyota vehicles.
3. Eliminate all CO2 emissions from Toyota facilities, logistics and processes.
4. Ensure all Toyota facilities and processes protect water resources.
5. Ensure all Toyota facilities and processes support a recycling-based society.
6. Ensure all Toyota facilities and processes operate in harmony with nature.

In April TMNA released four position papers, one each on Carbon, Biodiversity, Materials and Water. According to Kevin Butt, regional environmental director, TMNA, “These position papers further showcase our efforts to achieve our ambitious environmental goals that ultimately aspire to contribute to global environmental sustainability.” The papers are roadmaps of where the company is and where it is going as it moves toward 2050.

The paper on Carbon is inclusive of challenges 1, 2 and 3; Water addresses 4; Materials 5; and Biodiversity 6.

This undertaking is not just about planting flowers and making sure that there is no wasted water. Rather, it encompasses everything from the development of new vehicles with reduced emissions—from more hybrids to fuel-cell vehicles—to minimizing waste from all of its manu-
facturing plants.