Outreach with our stakeholders is a crucial component of our environmental sustainability strategy. Through outreach, we create mechanisms for building on the successes of our environmental programs and scaling up the outcomes. We can act locally and make a difference globally.
We acknowledge that a stronger commitment to partnership and collaboration is needed to address the world‘s environmental challenges successfully. Across our diverse set of partnerships, we are taking steps to build a path to achieving the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 and a net positive impact. TMNA supports local, national and regional community projects that align with our core focus areas of Carbon, Water, Materials and Biodiversity.
TMNA team members participate on the Boards of Directors or Executive Committees of several nonprofit organizations, such as Yellowstone Forever, Environmental Law Institute, "National Environmental Education Foundation" Wildlife Habitat Council and Environmental Media Association. TMNA is also a member of the National Council of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an advisory group to WWF's Board of Directors in the U.S.
With an increasing number of people relying on charitable services during the COVID-19 pandemic, many community organizations have found themselves in need of a reliable vehicle. Responding to that need, Toyota Canada and its dealers across Canada developed Cars for Good, a program supporting local charities with free short-term vehicle loans or other delivery services. In Quebec City, Quebec, Ste-Foy Toyota loaned a Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle to Pharmacy Brunet to help deliver prescription medication to their clients
Toyota has been partnering with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) for more than 25 years. NEEF partners with local organizations across the nation to connect people of all ages and abilities with public lands for recreation, hands-on learning and community building.
With major support from Toyota Motor North America, NEEF launched the Biodiversity Conversation Grant program, which is designed to support biodiversity conservation projects on America’s public lands. The first grant of $200,000 was awarded in 2019 to the National Capital Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (NCR-PRISM). The partnership is composed of local and federal government agencies, conservation organizations and academic institutions working together to restore native biodiversity and protect critical habitats by managing invasive species across the National Capital Region. Together, PRISM members are responsible for the management of roughly 1,500 square miles of forested lands in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
The projects supported through this grant are scheduled to conclude in the spring of 2022. So far, 480,580 invasive species have been removed; 2,516 native trees, shrubs and flowers have been planted; and 2,131 community volunteers have logged 8,524 volunteer hours.
The second round of grants totaling $225,000 was awarded in 2021 and will support biodiversity conservation projects on public lands within the California Floristic Province. With an area of approximately 113,438 square miles, the California Floristic Province includes 70 percent of California and extends into southwestern Oregon, a small part of western Nevada and northern Baja California. The area is designated a biodiversity hotspot, which means it is home to the highest diversity of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Part of what makes California a hotspot is that its biodiversity is seriously threatened – at least 75 percent of the original habitat is already lost.
The grant funds will be used to preserve the region’s unique biodiversity as well as to engage the public through volunteer and community events designed to educate and address local biodiversity issues in their communities. Funds will support four conservation projects:
Restoring Native Habitat and Saving the Most Endangered Butterfly in North America
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy will work to restore native habitat at Abalone Cove Ecological Reserve in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, to support four special status species: the threatened California gnatcatcher, species of special concern cactus wren, and two federally endangered butterflies – El Segundo blue butterfly and Palos Verdes blue butterfly. The Palos Verdes blue butterfly is believed to be the most endangered butterfly in North America. Abalone Cove’s primary habitat, coastal sage scrub, is 85 percent degraded or destroyed and is considered one of the most endangered plant communities in the United States.
Protecting the Declining Aspen Population
The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) will work to restore and conserve existing aspen stands in the Yuba River watershed as well as protect vulnerable, budding aspen suckers (aspen reproduces both by seeds and by root sprouts, or suckers). Over the grant period, the SYRCL will install cattle exclusion fencing to protect vulnerable new growth aspen, monitor the health and other possible threats to aspen stands using camera traps and assessment protocols, educate students via the Youth Outdoor Leadership Opportunity (YOLO), and empower community members to recreate responsibly in aspen stands through free educational opportunities and outreach.
Improving Bio-Rich Grassland Health by Removing Invasive Species
The Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve in San Mateo County is a biologically rich preserve home to a mosaic of habitats including grasslands, serpentine outcrops, oak woodlands, and chaparral that support rare, endemic, threatened, and endangered species of plants and butterflies, with an estimated 500 species of plants within just 467 acres. The Green Grass Biodiversity Conservation Initiative aims to restore Edgewood’s non-native grasslands to their former floral beauty and species diversity by reducing or eliminating weeds and promoting greater cover of native plants. By implementing the best practices of grassland management, including mowing, de-thatching, and selective chemical treatments, the Green Grass Initiative is expected to significantly increase native cover and—since non-native grasses also threaten the Bay checkerspot butterfly, thornmint, and pentachaeta—deliver benefits to at-risk species as well.
Reducing Fire Risk and Increasing Plant Diversity in Moro Canyon
Located in the center of Moro Canyon at the nexus of two major hiking trails, the site known as “the Bowl” has challenged State Park restoration efforts since the 1990s. With a long legacy of disturbance resulting from decades of sheep and cattle grazing, the area has been type-converted over time from biologically diverse coastal sage scrub vegetation and perennial grasslands to biologically poor annual grasslands dominated by invasive black mustard. Building on established work from the first phase of restoration, funded by the State of California, this project is expected to result in the enhancement of 50 acres of coastal sage scrub habitat, which is expected to improve ecosystem function and resilience, reduce fire risk, and increase native plant diversity.
For information on Toyota’s activities at the assembly plant located within the California Floristic Province, see “Restoring Habitats.”
Extreme weather events have been grabbing headlines with increasing frequency. Whether a hurricane, tornado or flood, communities face the challenge of recovering from the damage and preparing for potential repeats. Nonprofit organizations are taking a larger role in helping communities rebound, and restoring their access to and enjoyment of local public lands is an important component.
To support these efforts, NEEF, with sole funding support from Toyota Motor North America, awarded $275,000 in grants to organizations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico for projects designed to help restore public lands and/or implement new ways to make those lands more resilient to future disasters. These grants were awarded in two rounds of funding: The first round, worth $200,000, was awarded in 2018 to 10 organizations. The second round, worth $75,000, was awarded in 2020 to three of the organizations from round one that demonstrated a need for continued funding. The projects concluded in the spring of 2021. The grantees from both rounds of funding reported the following impacts:
Toyota continues to be the national corporate sponsor of National Public Lands Day (NPLD), hosted by NEEF. Held annually on the fourth Saturday in September, NPLD is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the U.S.
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed the way Americans engage with public lands. From iconic national parks to local urban green spaces, the threat of COVID-19 made it extremely difficult - if not impossible - for many land managers to host large in-person events on public lands in 2020. Despite these challenges, the following were reported for NPLD 2020*:
* National impact data for the 2021 event were not yet available at the time of publishing this report.
For NPLD 2021, NEEF built on the theme of “More Ways to Connect to Nature.” Virtual events have proven to be an invaluable tool for connecting a wider, more diverse range of people to iconic parks, national forests, marine estuaries, and other public lands sites. In 2021, the objective was to highlight that diversity—in public lands, people, and the ways in which we value and care for these spaces—by supporting virtual NPLD events.
As part of its efforts in the Northern Great Plains, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has partnered with Rosebud Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) in their work to establish the Wolakota Buffalo Range on the land of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate, commonly known as the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Over the next few years, the project is expected to establish a herd of 1,500 plains bison (buffalo) on 27,680 acres of native grassland. When at capacity, the herd will become North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd.
In 2021, Toyota provided $150,000 to WWF to support the development of the range, specifically for the construction of 23 miles of perimeter fence. The remaining 12 miles of fencing will be completed in 2022 and will make the entire 27,680 acres accessible to bison.
The first 100 bison were returned to the Wolakota Buffalo Range in October 2020. The animals were transferred from Badlands National Park and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Additional bison will be delivered over the next five years from herds managed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, American Prairie Reserve, and The Nature Conservancy. Toyota is providing a second round of funding to support ecological monitoring and acquisition of bison from additional sites to accelerate herd growth and fully stock the range with 1,500 bison.
This herd will support economic development, cultural revitalization, education, and food sovereignty for the Rosebud Sioux Nation. The arrival of the bison at the Wolakota Buffalo Range is a step forward in reconnecting bison to the land and the people of the Sicangu Lakota Nation.
With support from Toyota and others, REDCO and WWF are establishing the Wolakota Buffalo Range in South Dakota and are expected to establish a herd of 1,500 bison on 27,680 acres of native grassland. In October 2020, the first 100 bison were returned to their native lands. When at capacity, the herd will become North America’s largest Native American owned and managed bison herd.
Each April, residents across the United States take part in the annual Wyland National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation. The program encourages residents across America to make small changes in their lives to better manage water resources and improve the health of oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands. The campaign is presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota with support from The Toro Company, U.S. EPA, National League of Cities, Hobie Surf Shops and Petal Soaps.
In the 10 years of the campaign, a total of 4 million pledges have been made to save 19.3 billion gallons of water.
In 2021 alone, residents from across the nation made 759,000 pledges to save 3 billion gallons of water by changing behaviors ranging from fixing home leaks to reducing harmful runoff into local rivers and streams, and mayors from 42 states competed to see whose city would be the nation’s most “water wise.” The cities with the highest percentage of residents making pledges during the 2021 campaign included Laguna Beach, California; North Port, Florida; Oceanside, California; and Dallas, Texas.
Participating residents were asked to nominate a deserving charity in their community to receive a 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE. The award of the grand prize vehicle is at the heart of the campaign and instrumental in connecting thousands of charities and civic groups to resource conservation.
In addition to online pledges, residents supported the health of local watersheds with tree plantings, storm drain stenciling projects, neighborhood cleanups to remove pollution that might otherwise find its way into storm channels, and mobile science outreach in Florida, Arizona and California.
Beyond reducing overall water waste, challenge participants in all 50 states pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles by 7.4 million and eliminate 176 thousand pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, residents also pledged to put 80 million fewer pounds of waste in landfills. Potential savings of 11 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, 199 million kilowatt hours of electricity, and $14 million in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results.