The Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 (Challenge 2050) is a set of six visionary challenges that seek to go beyond eliminating negative environmental impacts to creating net positive impacts on the planet and society. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC, Toyota’s parent company headquartered in Japan) announced these six challenges in 2015 after extensive research and internal and external consultation. The challenges, which apply to all Toyota subsidiaries around the world, are the most demanding and most inspiring environmental commitments this company has ever made.
The six challenges are:
Challenge 2050 is how team members across the company, in every region of the world, are working to put Toyota's global vision of Respect for the Planet into action. Challenge 2050 unites us all with a common purpose – to be more than just good stewards of the environment and to create positive changes beyond our facility boundaries.
In 2015, TMC conducted a global evaluation of environmental trends, risks and opportunities to identify topics that reflect the company’s most significant environmental impacts. As a result of this process, TMC identified six environmental issues that are addressed by Challenge 2050:
One major input to TMC's evaluation of significant environmental issues was the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs and their corresponding 169 targets run from 2016 through 2030 and in that time, seek to "free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet." This may sound like an unrealistic mission, but the UN goals are actually achievable – if governments, businesses, nonprofits, other organizations and even individuals all do their part.
At Toyota, we are committed to doing our part. The Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 supports many of the SDGs and shares their fundamental mission — to make the world better, safer and healthier.
Each of Toyota's major regions is developing strategies and targets to help the company achieve these challenges. Here in North America, our activities supporting both Challenge 2050 and the SDGs are organized by our core focus areas of Water, Carbon, Materials and Biodiversity. Our long-term strategies in each of these focus areas show the steps we're taking to address the world's pressing environmental problems and become part of the solution. We believe environmental sustainability activities undertaken within our four focus areas, complemented by outreach, can make significant contributions to seven of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. For more information on how we contribute to the achievement of the SDGs in North America, see our feature story here.
Through a combination of continuous improvement (kaizen), new technology, and creative thinking. And, perhaps most importantly, by sharing know-how. These challenges are complex and won’t be achieved alone. They will take working with partners who will help us find success along the way.
Developing strategies for a 30-year period is difficult, given the uncertainties in planning so far into the future. So, the company has developed a number of milestones, particularly for the three CO2 emissions challenges, which together, reflect Toyota’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Key Global Milestones:
In addition to these milestones, Toyota continues to work on environmental action plans (EAPs), which break down the Challenge 2050 into incremental, five-year plans. This is how the company is working to drive change - step by step to achieve carbon neutrality and a net positive environmental impact at a global level.
The sixth five-year plan ran from 2017 to 2021. Performance against the targets in this EAP are reported in the 2021 North American Environmental Report.
Toyota’s Seventh Environmental Action Plan runs from 2022-2026. Details on this plan can be found here.
Here at Toyota Motor North America, we aligned Challenge 2050 with our four environmental sustainability focus areas of Carbon (the three CO2 Emissions Challenges), Water (the Water Conservation Challenge), Materials (the Recycling-based Society Challenge) and Biodiversity (the Harmony with Nature Challenge).
Step by step, we are making progress towards achieving the challenges in Challenge 2050. We are reducing environmental impacts, and we're starting to see how we can turn that into net positive.