"Biodiversity" is one of Toyota's four environmental sustainability focus areas in North America. Biodiversity refers to the variety and interdependence of species and ecosystems and the natural patterns they form. Our biodiversity strategy supports the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 by partnering with experts to help protect species and restore habitats and expanding our reach to achieve broader positive conservation results. We are committed to operating in harmony with the environment and building healthy ecosystems so that future generations may continue to enjoy the natural wonders of our world.
Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) had the following BIODIVERSITY target for fiscal years 2017 to 2021:

HARMONY WITH NATURE CHALLENGE:

PARTICIPATE IN REGIONAL BIODIVERSITY ACTIVITIES THAT SUPPORT WILDLIFE CORRIDORS (ACHIEVED)

 

The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration. Some migration routes are as long as 3,000 miles. It can take up to two months for a monarch to complete the journey south. Monarchs from the eastern part of North America migrate to the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, while those from west of the Rocky Mountain range overwinter in California.

 

Seventeen Toyota sites across North America have planted pollinator gardens to nurture monarch butterflies and other pollinator species. All 17 gardens are located along the monarch migration path. The gardens provide food and shelter to the butterflies at various stages of their life cycle as they make their way south for the winter, then return in the spring.

Toyota sites along the monarch's migration path:

 

  • Plano, Texas TMNA headquarters campus
  • Georgetown, Kentucky Production & Engineering Manufacturing Center
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan R&D center
  • York Township, Michigan Supplier Center
  • Princeton, Indiana vehicle assembly plant
  • Georgetown, Kentucky vehicle assembly plant
  • Blue Springs, Mississippi vehicle assembly plant
  • San Antonio, Texas vehicle assembly plant
  • Huntsville, Alabama powertrain plant
  • Buffalo, West Virginia powertrain plant
  • Troy, Missouri aluminum casting plant
  • Jackson, Tennessee aluminum casting plant
  • Boston, Massachusetts parts distribution center
  • Cambridge, Ontario vehicle assembly plant
  • Woodstock, Ontario vehicle assembly plant
  • Toronto, Ontario Toyota Canada head office
  • Clarington, Ontario Eastern Canada Parts Distribution Center

Toyota also worked with the Suppliers Partnership for the Environment to launch the Pollinator Project Challenge. Participating automakers and suppliers across North America have planted more than 200 pollinator gardens during the last two years. For more information on this challenge, see "Expanding Our Reach"

Beginning in fiscal year 2022, we have a new five-year target to develop habitat management standards by 2022. This target moves us along the path to achieving the 2050 challenge of harmony with nature.

 

 

PROTECTING SPECIES

 

Toyota team members across North America participate in species protection projects as part of Wildlife Habitat Council® (WHC) certification programs. WHC helps us evaluate animal species on our sites and identify appropriate habitat creation and enhancement projects.

 

Historically, we have focused our species protection efforts on birds such as tree swallows, red-tailed hawks and wood ducks, and pollinators, namely monarch butterflies, bees and bats. In 2019, we decided to expand our focus to indicator species, which serve as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a given locale. The presence of an indicator species can signal either a healthy ecosystem or an unhealthy one. Indicators can reveal information about various factors, such as nutrient or food availability.

 

Toyota partnered with WHC to develop a tool to help sites select indicator species appropriate for individual locations. The selection tool provides evaluation criteria, such as conservation status, food sources and technical expertise required to develop and maintain habitat. The tool is customized for each site and is available to sites with programs already certified by WHC as well as those interested in future Conservation Certification.

 

Sites that have selected their indicator species have developed roadmaps to define habitat planning and enhancement. All participating Toyota sites are scheduled to have at least one indicator species project started by 2021 and to complete their habitat development projects by 2030. Once the habitats are developed, each site will monitor and track its indicator species impact and will continue to improve its habitat.

 

As of the spring of 2021, 15 sites have selected an indicator species and five have completed a project to support their indicator species: assembly plants in Woodstock, Ontario; Blue Springs, Mississippi; Georgetown, Kentucky; and Princeton, Indiana; and the aluminum casting plant in Troy, Missouri. The three that completed their projects during fiscal year 2021 are highlighted in the photos below.

Team members at the assembly plant in Indiana built 8 bat boxes with a Boy Scout troop. The rocket design of the box allows Big Brown Bats to move around when temperatures get colder.

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Team members at the aluminum casting plant in Missouri completed the removal of invasive species around a vernal pool to help protect the Grey Treefrog.

Team members at the assembly plant in Kentucky completed habitat installation next to a pond for the Great Blue Heron.

INDICATOR SPECIES BY LOCATION
Toyota Site Indicator Species
Production Engineering & Manufacturing Center in Georgetown, Kentucky American Kestrel
R&D Center in York Township, Michigan Painted Turtle
Aluminum casting plant in Troy, Missouri Grey Treefrog
Aluminum casting plant in Jackson, Tennessee Tri-colored Bat
Powertrain plant in Huntsville, Alabama Green Heron
Powertrain plant in Buffalo, West Virginia Eastern Bluebird
Autobody parts plant in Long Beach, California Anna Hummingbird
Assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana Big Brown Bat
Assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky Great Blue Heron
Assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi Wood Duck
Assembly plant in San Antonio, Texas Loggerhead Shrike
Assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario (Canada) Tree Swallow
Assembly plant in Woodstock, Ontario (Canada) Tree Swallow
Assembly plant in Tijuana, Baja California (Mexico) Red-tailed Hawk
Assembly plant in Apaseo el Grande, Guanajuato (Mexico) Crested Caracara

See "Conservation Certifications" in Performance for a list of TMNA sites with programs certified by Wildlife Habitat Council.

See "Endangered & Protected Species" in Performance.

 

 

RESTORING HABITATS

 

Toyota works with several partners to help restore habitats. For example, Toyota awarded a $50,000 grant to Legacy Land Conservancy as part of its 50th Anniversary Preserves Pathways Challenge. Between May and October 2021, the Conservancy challenged the public to head out to one of its seven preserves – spanning more than 300 acres across southern Michigan – and log 50,000 steps. Toyota’s grant supported this campaign as well as invasive species removal at the preserves and several prescribed burns that support prairie restoration, open wetland maintenance, and native seed bank stimulation.

 

Additionally, Toyota has been partnering with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) for more than 25 years on habitat restoration projects on public lands. In 2021, with major support from Toyota, NEEF awarded $225,000 in grant funding to support four nonprofit organizations that will conduct biodiversity conservation projects on public lands within the California Floristic Province ecological region. You can learn more about this grant and our other projects with NEEF here.

 

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, Mexico. The area is designated a hotspot, meaning it is home to a high diversity of endemics – plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world.

 

This area is also considered a hotspot because its biodiversity is seriously threatened – at least 75 percent of the original habitat is already lost. That’s why Toyota’s assembly plant in northern Baja California has decided to conduct habitat restoration projects on its property. Team members conducted a baseline inventory of plant and animal species and documented 106 plant species and 19 amphibian and reptile species. They are working on removing 24 invasive plant species and are planning to plant native vegetation during the next rainy season. They will also construct a walking trail with interpretive signs that will help both team members and the broader community learn about the species living around them and the importance of protecting biodiversity.

 

See "Protected Areas/Critical Habitat" in Performance"

 

See “World Wildlife Fund” in Outreach.

TREE PLANTING ACTIVITIES

Toyota facilities worldwide participated in tree planting activities to commemorate the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. This effort helps to spread the culture of Morizukuri, which in Japanese means “to create a forest,” and supports the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, a global effort to establish a future society where people and cars can coexist in harmony with nature.

 

Toyota used the Dr. Miyawaki method of planting, which involves planting indigenous trees and shrubs in a random pattern and in high density. Between 2019 and 2021, Toyota team members at nine sites planted 9,015 trees and shrubs.

Tree planting at R&D facility in York, Michigan: 400 trees, 10 species, 20 volunteers

Tree planting at Production Engineering & Manufacturing Center, Kentucky: 2020 trees, 24 species, 52 volunteers

 

Tree planting at assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi: 2,050 native trees, 15 species, 85 volunteers

Tree planting at assembly plant in Apaseo el Grande, Guanajuato: 600 native trees, 5 species, 202 volunteers

MORIZUKURI TREE PLANTINGS

 

The 9,015 trees and shrubs planted by Toyota in North America in commemoration of the Tokyo Olympics will reach maturity at about 10 years old. At maturity, they will be expected to sequester 200,000 pounds of carbon per year.* These trees and shrubs help to mitigate climate change by trapping carbon that would otherwise enter the atmosphere. They also support biodiversity by providing habitat for birds, insects and mammals.

 

*Estimate is based on data from the U.S. EPA. See Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculator - Calculations and References

SITE NUMBER OF TREES
Assembly Plant in Mississippi 2,050
Assembly Plant in Cambridge, Ontario (Canada) 2,040
Production & Engineering Manufacturing Center in Kentucky 2,020
Assembly Plant in Kentucky 1,800
Assembly Plant in Apaseo el Grande, Guanajuato (Mexico) 600
R&D Center in Michigan 400
Assembly Plant in Alabama 45
Assembly Plant in Texas 40
Assembly Plant in Tijuana, Baja California 20
TOTAL 9,015

SHARING CONSERVATION KNOW-HOW

 

Supporting community initiatives helps us to scale up conservation efforts. In the communities where we live and work, we focus our efforts on building knowledge and fostering a love of nature. Over the years, team members at several of our sites have hosted school field trips to natural areas and worked with elementary and high school students on projects such as building bat boxes and bird nesting boxes.

 

During Earth Month in April of each year, Toyota hosts events to educate team members about the importance of biodiversity and provides opportunities for them to take those lessons home and into their communities. Our engine and transmission plant in Buffalo, West Virginia, expanded on that idea in May 2021 by hosting a pollinator workshop. About 75 area residents attended to hear representatives from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, and local nonprofits give presentations about what people can do in their own backyards to support pollinators. This program is part of the plant’s conservation education program, which earned Gold Conservation Certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council. The plant’s pollinator garden, which covers nine acres of land, is the largest of any industrial site in West Virginia.

SP POLLINATOR PROJECT CHALLENGE

TMNA is a member of Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP), a partnership between automobile original equipment manufacturers, their suppliers and U.S. EPA. SP members share a common vision of working together to improve environmental sustainability. Advancing biodiversity conservation is one component of this vision and the focus of SP’s Biodiversity Work Group.

 

In 2019, the SP Biodiversity Work Group, co-chaired by Kevin Butt (TMNA) and Sam Qureshi (Waste Management Sustainability Services), issued the SP Pollinator Project Challenge to member companies, asking them to make a commitment to implement or expand a pollinator project at one or more sites. Participants in the challenge have a unique opportunity to create a connected corridor of wildlife habitat and provide meaningful new habitat for pollinators and other migratory species.

 

Through a memorandum of understanding with Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), participating SP members receive access to complimentary conservation resources to help guide them through a pollinator project design and implementation process, along with one-on-one technical support from WHC conservation specialists where needed. SP also engages with the Pollinator Partnership to provide its members with additional educational resources and ideas to support pollinator conservation on their sites and within their communities.

 

A variety of large and small SP member companies have accepted the challenge. While the increase in projects in the second year was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members were provided with resources and encouraged to promote the benefits of pollinator projects as an at-home activity.

 

After two years, participating SP member companies are collectively managing 206 pollinator projects across their respective sites, including both pollinator habitat projects and pollinator-focused employee and community education programs. Taken together, those projects represent more than 2,500 acres of corporate lands that are currently being managed by SP member companies as wildlife habitat for pollinators.