GLOBAL AND REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES are at a critical point, and require both governments and businesses to act. As we continue to grow, it becomes more vital for us to have functional, comprehensive systems in place to ensure that we manage our environmental footprint to the best of our abilities.
The environmental management systems (EMSs) in place at our facilities help us do more than comply with regulations. These systems help us address issues that are not covered by regulation, such as energy efficiency and recycling, and provide a means for managing environmental risks, such as groundwater contamination. Our EMSs help us to be proactive about any contamination that we do find. For example, we discovered ground contamination at our vehicle distribution center in Newark, and have been working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New York/New Jersey Port Authority on remediation.
Throughout this report, we describe how we look at all stages of the vehicle life cycle to try to minimize our environmental footprint. But none of this is done alone. We work with our business partners in order to achieve the best results. Our suppliers and our dealers play a large role in the success of our environmental initiatives.
Our targets in the areas of vehicle life cycle, environmental management systems, and environmental management with our business partners are described in this chapter.
Eco-VAS is a comprehensive system that Toyota uses to measure and reduce the environmental impact of a vehicle across its entire life cycle — from parts and vehicle manufacturing to driving and maintenance, to the ultimate recycling and disposal of the vehicle. Since 2007, Eco-VAS has been introduced on all new vehicle models and redesigns. (Target 12.1)
Toyota applies life cycle assessment to its packaging design. In 2007, we co-developed and began using the Environmental Packaging Impact Calculator (EPIC) to quantify and assess the environmental impacts and financial costs of packaging systems used at our parts logistics sites. Developed with students of the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California in Santa Barbara, EPIC allows packaging engineers to evaluate the life cycle environmental impacts of packaging options in terms of air pollution, global warming, human health and toxicity, substances of concern, and resource depletion.
The students at the Bren School used EPIC to assess a materials change for the Lexus ES spoiler package. The old packaging for the spoiler consisted of cardboard and polyurethane foam, while the new packaging uses less cardboard and coated kraft paper instead of foam. EPIC showed that each spoiler shipped with the new packaging system emits 41% less CO2 than the old system over its life cycle. There were also lower environmental impacts associated with resource use and substances of concern, and net financial savings. This tool will enable Toyota's logistics sites to predict the environmental impacts of future changes to packaging systems, and help our engineers make early and informed decisions.
Toyota's EMSs help us check that our activities comply with all applicable federal, state, provincial, territorial and local requirements, as well as our own internal requirements. All of Toyota's manufacturing plants and logistics sites, and even some of our office complexes, have an EMS.
The training our employees receive in EMS awareness and in functional topic areas such as hazardous waste disposal is critical to the continued success of the EMS, and to our ability to achieve leading levels of environmental performance. (Target 13.1) Thanks to a strong EMS that promotes continuous improvement, Toyota facilities in North America received zero notices of violation and zero complaints in environmental matters in FY2008. (Target 13.2) In addition, our North American logistics sites achieved their tenth consecutive year with no hazardous materials/dangerous goods violations.
Our new vehicle distribution center in Lafayette, Indiana, successfully completed ISO 14001 certification, and we have maintained ISO 14001 certification/registration at all North American manufacturing and logistics sites. (Target 13.5) With the registration of the Calgary sales office in 2007, all of Toyota's Canadian sales and distribution sites are registered to ISO 14001. (Target 13.6)
Our manufacturing sites have taken their EMSs to the next level — enhanced EMS (eEMS). The enhanced EMS is a global initiative developed by our parent company in Japan. In FY2007, we adopted these requirements and integrated the enhanced EMS with our ISO 14001 system. In FY2008, we rolled out a North America-specific enhanced EMS audit program, and took over the auditing and training from Japan.
Our EMSs help us to continuously seek innovative ways to reduce our environmental footprint while we manage our growth. Our plant in Cambridge, Ontario, used water to capture paint overspray on a Lexus paint line. However, in order to clean the water for recirculation, the paint required a treatment using a petroleum-based chemical to make the paint less tacky. Toyota employees kaizened this process by switching to a compound called chitosan, a natural substance found in waste seashells from the seafood industry. The use of chitosan has allowed us to replace the petrochemical in our painting operations at the plant.
Our manufacturing plant in Long Beach, California, recently joined our plants in Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia as members of EPA's National Environmental Performance Track program. Noted as the EPA “gold standard” for facility-based environmental management, membership is determined based upon the facility's history of environmental excellence. Through this program, our plants continue to demonstrate Toyota's commitment to environmental compliance and strong environmental management systems.
Our Long Beach plant has undertaken a number of initiatives that have improved the plant's environmental performance, including eliminating an ammonia scrubber, reusing precious metal recovery wastewater and cooling tower blow down water as makeup water for scrubbers, implementing a light retrofit, and replacing motors and compressors with more energy-efficient models.
Building Better Plants and Offices
We consider LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) during new construction and remodeling of our facilities. (Target 13.3) LEED is a point-based program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council that sets standards for “green” buildings. It promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in key areas of human and environmental health. We have a number of sites that have been LEED certified.
Our new engineering design and safety test facility in York Township, Michigan, opened in late summer 2008. The site was a former Brownfield. The facility has registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, and we are applying for LEED certification.
Through our EMSs, we work to reduce the risk of soil, surface water and groundwater contamination. (Target 13.1) At our manufacturing sites we develop eco-plant plans, a tool that helps us construct plants to use resources more efficiently and minimize our environmental footprint. Planning ahead allows us to reduce risk. We set performance targets that address energy, waste and water, and consider best practices and local conditions. We audit facilities during and after construction to check that the elements of the plan are implemented. Eco-plant planning is under way all across Toyota North America. (Target 13.4)
Operating Sustainable Plants
Our North American manufacturing operations have minimized our impact on the environment through our action plans, enhanced environmental management systems and eco-plant plans. These “Sustainable Plant” activities make efficient use of resources and harmonize our operations with natural surroundings. Toyota aims to create and operate such production sites worldwide with the following three perspectives in mind:
- Achieving groundbreaking environmental performance by introducing innovative technology and kaizen activities;
- Reducing CO2 by using renewable energy (such as biomass) and natural energy sources (such as solar power and wind power); and
- Contributing to the local community and conserving the environment by planting trees at plants and in local communities.
The model plant for this initiative in North America is our plant in Mississippi, which will begin operations in 2010. This cutting edge plant will operate an innovative assembly line. The plant's eco-plant plan has been completed, and includes measures to reduce CO2 and VOC emissions, reduce water consumption, achieve zero waste to landfill, and manage waste by introducing recyclable products. The site is also actively promoting tree planting activities as part of an effort to live in harmony with the environment and the local community.
Toyota works closely with our business partners, including suppliers and dealers.
Toyota's Green Supplier Guidelines were originally created in 2000, and updated in January 2007. (Target 14.1) The Guidelines emphasize that Toyota expects its suppliers to be in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and social norms. Suppliers are also asked to go beyond legal and social requirements and to undertake activities that support Toyota's environmental goals.
Toyota works with its suppliers to help them improve their environmental performance. For example, we recently began facilitating treasure hunts with our suppliers to promote energy conservation awareness throughout our supply chain. Treasure hunts are energy reduction events that we have been conducting within our manufacturing plants for years. Usually beginning on a Sunday afternoon, Toyota and its suppliers tour a supplier facility, taking inventory of lights and equipment that, for example, are on when they should be off. Teams are taught to use Toyota's energy savings calculation tool that presents the total amount of savings found.
A total of $1.3 million of savings has been identified during 12 supplier treasure hunts conducted in FY2008. One supplier in California replaced their lighting with high bay fluorescent lighting and reduced electricity demands by 126 kilowatts with an annual savings of approximately $115,000.
There are over 1,800 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealerships in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. As key business partners, we provide them with resources to help manage service-related waste streams and comply with environmental and safety regulatory requirements. We use the Web to provide a number of tools, including the Web-based Environmental Assistance Network (EAN) and an online HazMat compliance training course, HazMat U. (Target 14.2)
The North American Automotive HazMat Action Committee (NAAHAC) — of which Toyota is a member — and the Department of Transportation (DOT) recently pledged to work together to raise awareness of hazardous material transportation regulations and requirements within the supply chain of the automotive industry in North America. The supply chain includes automobile manufacturing facilities, service part distribution facilities, automotive industry suppliers, dealerships and independent mechanical and body repair facilities. NAAHAC and DOT will develop and distribute educational and outreach materials, coordinate specific events that promote hazardous material transportation awareness and training, and participate in ongoing outreach.
Over the next three years, one of the biggest challenges we face in meeting our action plan targets is to minimize our environmental risks, even as our operations, footprint and market share increase.