How Toyota Is Saving the Environment While Remaining Profitable
Sustainability is a huge buzzword thrown around by many global conglomerates, but while many companies don’t really walk the talk, Toyota is not one such entity. Time and again, the number one Japanese car maker has proven its commitment to supporting and foster a more inclusive and sustainable society, from assembly lines that make use of practical energy-saving machines, to extensive raw material reuse and recycling, to pushing for more electrified units, to supporting local colleges in their environment efforts, and more.
To further boost its sustainable practices, Toyota developed the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 in an effort to help solve some of the major environmental issues facing the global community, including climate change, water scarcity, resource depletion and habitat loss.
After conducting intense studies, Toyota has identified six major issues of which it can have a direct role in solving. The first three challenges focus on carbon and the call to reduce if not eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new vehicles, as well as making manufacturing steps carbon-free.
The fourth challenge addresses water availability and quality, while the fifth and sixth challenges seek to move closer to contributing to a recycling-based society and protecting nature.
"Our actions today are setting a foundation for the future. Achieving Challenge 2050 will not be easy, but with the help of team members, suppliers and other partners, we are already reducing our impacts and creating positive change," said Toyota Motor North America Director of Environmental Sustainability, Kevin Butt.
To showcase the progress that the company is making in the six aforementioned areas, Toyota released the 2019 North American Environment Report, which offers the following highlights:
- Toyota is committed to offering an electrified version of each Toyota and Lexus model by 2025.
- Toyota is entering into renewable power purchase agreements, which will be used to reduce GHG emissions from our North American operations by up to 40 percent over the next three years.
- Toyota's North American manufacturing plants recycled or reused 565 million gallons of water last year. That's equivalent to the annual water use of 5,159 average American families.
- Toyota's assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario, developed a new cleaning process that saves 11,300 gallons of solvent and cuts material waste in half.
- Toyota is partnering with the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, one of the largest public arts gatherings in Michigan, to make this a zero-waste event. In just one year, the festival went from 100 percent landfill to diverting over 75 percent of its waste to compost and recycling.
- Across North America, Toyota has 17 sites with pollinator gardens supporting monarch butterflies along their migration path.
- Toyota has 13 sites engaged in conservation programs certified by Wildlife Habitat Council.
- In 2019, residents from cities across the U.S. took part in the 8th annual National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation, sponsored by Toyota, by pledging to save over 3 billion gallons of water over the next year.
- For the 20th consecutive year, Toyota was the national corporate sponsor of National Public Lands Day, hosted by the National Environmental Education Foundation. Between 1999 and 2018, more than 50,000 Toyota volunteers spent 193,000 volunteer hours building and maintaining 1,500 miles of trails, planting 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants, and removing 30,000 pounds of invasive species.
- In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, we have supported 67 Toyota and Lexus dealerships in becoming LEED-certified. Achieving LEED certification illustrates the dealerships' commitment to sustainable construction and remodeling.
In the report, Toyota also discusses the completion of the first phase of a California's Zero-and-Near-Zero Emission Freight Facilities Project (ZANZEFF) that will reduce GHG emissions by 500 tons, the recycling of over half a billion gallons of water at manufacturing facilities and a 93-percent recycling, reuse or composting rate of waste at all North American facilities.
Hopefully, many other companies will follow Toyota’s environmentally-friendly example to help ensure that the generations to come will have plenty of natural resources to enjoy and explore.
To read about the 2019 North American Environment Report, click here.