We are pleased to present our eighth annual Toyota North America Environmental Report. We hope this report conveys our continuing commitment to the environment as a central tenet of our management policy.

Over the past year, we saw a convergence of will from industry, government and society to respond to climate change and to address our collective footprint on the planet. It is clear that the mix of limited resources, rising temperatures and an increasing global population that wants to be mobile demands an innovative and sustainable response. As an auto manufacturer, Toyota believes that “sustainable mobility” can be achieved through advanced technologies, key partnerships and creative people who are willing to take on this most important challenge.

We recognize the need to balance economic growth with the needs of society and the environment. This view is embodied in our management philosophy, The Toyota Way, which guides our actions in designing, building and distributing our products and services. From waste reduction to recycling to resource management and producing cleaner, more efficient technologies, we are striving to reduce the environmental impact of our products and operations.

Early in 2008, global sales of the Prius reached one million units, and we estimate that the effect of these vehicles has been a reduction of some 4.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas that causes global warming.

Toyota is now working hard to achieve our vision of sustainable mobility that includes sales of one million hybrids per year by the 2010s. At the same time, we are continually improving and expanding our hybrid production to deliver hybrid versions of all Toyota models in the 2020s. Next year alone, we plan to introduce two all-new, dedicated hybrids, including the third‑generation Prius. In 2010, we will begin production of the Prius in the United States.

Moving forward, we are accelerating our global plug-in hybrid development program. This program will produce a fleet of plug-in hybrid vehicles that are powered by lithium‑ion batteries with higher energy output. As part of this effort, we established a battery research department to develop an innovative next-generation battery that can outperform current lithium-ion battery technology. We are also working with a wide range of partners to evaluate the technology and infrastructure needs for today and tomorrow. In addition to plug-in hybrids, we successfully tested a hydrogen fuel-cell hybrid vehicle in a landmark trip from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Vancouver, British Columbia — some 2,300 miles on hydrogen alone — with the only emissions consisting of water vapor.

Toyota spends an average of nearly $1 million an hour on research and development to develop the cars and technologies of the future. To maintain our global environmental leadership, we will redouble our efforts and substantially increase research and development spending over the next decade.

In addition to our advanced technology vehicles, Toyota is the most fuel-efficient full line manufacturer. For the 2008 model year, we offer six gasoline cars that are rated to better than 30 miles per gallon on highways: Corolla, Camry (four cylinder), Solara, Matrix, Yaris and Scion xD. With better‑than-average fuel economy and high sales volumes, these vehicles contribute to greenhouse gas reductions much like our hybrid lineup.

Beyond vehicles, we have made strides in improving the sustainability of our manufacturing plants and minimizing our impact on the ecosystems we rely upon. Our plant in Tupelo, Mississippi, will include an eco-efficient assembly line, and our entire manufacturing division has slashed its energy use by more than 20% since FY2001 — despite an increase in production, facility expansions and construction of new plants. In March of this year we launched TogetherGreen, a National Audubon Society program that funds conservation projects, trains environmental leaders, and offers volunteer opportunities across the nation. Toyota provided a $20 million grant for this program, the largest donation in the Audubon Society’s history.

We realize that the road to sustainable mobility is a long one, but we are ready and willing to go the distance. Our best resource to achieve this is our people — Toyota’s creative and dedicated employees who will pave the way to a sustainable future. We have created a long-term plan for where we need to be called Global Vision 2020, and are working on achieving the goals and targets in our FY2007 — 2011 Environmental Action Plan (EAP) in the near term. This report describes the progress we have made on our current EAP, across six key areas:

  • Energy and Climate Change
  • Recycling and Improved Resource Use
  • Substances of Concern
  • Air Quality
  • Environmental Management
  • Cooperation With Society

Our hope is that this report illustrates our efforts in both an interesting and informative manner, and we welcome your feedback on its content.