Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) has identified four interrelated environmental issues as our core focus areas: Carbon, Water, Materials and Biodiversity. These focus areas align with the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, which consists of six goals that seek to create a net positive impact on the planet.

This report provides information on our efforts to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive outcomes in each of our four focus areas. But if we really want to make a difference — and we do — we can’t just act alone. We must engage with our stakeholders to work toward common objectives.

TMNA’s stakeholders include customers, team members, dealers, suppliers, communities and nonprofit organizations, government agencies, academia and other partners (including other companies and trade associations). Outreach with these groups 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. Through our diverse set of partnerships, we are taking steps to build a path to achieving Challenge 2050 and a net positive impact. Through the power of collaboration, we hope to create lasting positive outcomes on a macro scale that will help us build a more sustainable future.


TMNA supports local and national community projects that align with our core focus areas of Carbon, Water, Materials and Biodiversity. By concentrating our support on organizations that address challenges in these four areas, we are building on our environmental commitment beyond minimizing negative impacts and helping to promote positive environmental change across the North American region. We share our know-how and collaborate so that we can build more than great cars – we are building a better tomorrow by harnessing the power of collective action.

For additional partnership examples, follow these links:

TMNA team members are members of the Boards of Directors of several nonprofit organizations, such as Yellowstone Forever, Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Foundation, National Environmental Education Foundation and Environmental Media Association. TMNA has a representative on the TRUE Advisory Council and is a platinum member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Toyota 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. Globally, Toyota participates in three WWF programs:

  • Living Asian Forest Project, part of Toyota’s Global Corporate Partnership Agreement.
  • Earth Hour: Toyota’s Canadian offices participated in Earth Hour 2018 by turning off all non-essential lighting. Earth Hour, coordinated by WWF and other volunteer organizations, is the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment. The 2018 through 2020 events endeavor to spark conversations on climate change and biodiversity loss and inspire people to act to protect our planet.
  • CN Tower Climb for Nature (see photo below).
Team members from Toyota Canada’s headquarters

In 2018, team members from Toyota Canada’s headquarters office participated in the WWF CN Tower Climb for Nature for the third consecutive year. The CN Tower Climb challenges participants to climb the 1,776 stairs of Toronto’s tallest tower. Toyota Canada’s team of 31 raised more than $5,300 to support WWF’s conservation priorities.

Dream Car Art Contest

The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is a worldwide contest presented annually, designed to inspire youth to imagine the future of mobility. Winners of the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest in participating countries are chosen from three age categories (under 8 years old, 8-11 years old, and 12-15 years old), with judging based on three criteria: artistry, uniqueness and execution of concept. The first international contest was held in 2004 by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.

Nine U.S. and nine Canadian Winners were selected by panels of judges. Their artwork advanced to represent the U.S. and Canada in competing against entrants from over 80 countries. In August 2018, the top 30 World Winners won an all-expenses-paid trip to Toyota City, Japan, and participated in an awards ceremony, which included a tour of a Toyota manufacturing plant.

“I am blown away by the drawings that were submitted,” said Camille Forget, artistic director at DentsuBos. “I thought I would be seeing a lot of monster trucks and glittery princess cars, and instead I found cars that clean our oceans, shelter the homeless, plant trees, etc. Young minds crafting elaborate mechanisms based on sustainability and recycling. A lot of imagination fueling the way toward a colorful, better future.”

Illustration by Fiona Chen, age 9 from British Columbia, Canada

Fiona Chen, age 9 from British Columbia, Canada, dreams of a car called “Watertopia,” an underwater mobile hotel that collects garbage in the ocean and transforms it into new furniture. Fiona was one of the Canadian winners of Toyota’s 2018 Dream Car Art Contest.

ECS Fellowship for Projects in Green Energy Technology

The ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship is a partnership between the Electrochemical Society (ECS) and Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a division of Toyota Motor North America. The fellowship aims to encourage young professors and scholars to pursue research in green energy technology that may promote the development of next-generation vehicles capable of utilizing alternative fuels.

Electrochemical research has already informed the development and improvement of innovative batteries, electrocatalysts, photovoltaics and fuel cells. Through this fellowship, ECS and Toyota hope to see further innovative and unconventional technologies borne from electrochemical research.

The selected fellows receive restricted grants of $50,000 to conduct the research outlined in their proposals within one year. They also receive a one-year complimentary ECS membership as well as the opportunity to present and/or publish their research with ECS.

Each year, fellows deliver presentations to Toyota, discussing the overall scope of the research before participating in breakout sessions, where the winners meet with specific research groups that are more directly connected to their topical areas. During these sessions, the fellows learn about some of the research being developed at Toyota, connecting fundamental work to applied research.

The ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship Selection Committee chose two recipients to receive the 2018-2019 fellowship awards for projects in green energy technology. The awardees are Professor Kimberly See, California Institute of Technology, and Professor Iryna Zenyuk, University of California, Irvine.

Now in its fourth year, the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship is an annual program; the 2019-2020 request for proposals was released in the fall of 2018.

Household Waste & E-Waste Collections

Since 1994, Toyota has helped team members and surrounding communities recycle and properly dispose of household waste. During designated collection days, team members and residents from surrounding communities are invited to drop off electronic waste, appliances, paint and other household items that are difficult to recycle or dispose. Iitems such as clothing and eye glasses are also collected and donated to those in need.

Four sites have been hosting these events for several years and together, they have invested close to $1 million over the years to ensure more than 2 million pounds of material have been recycled or properly disposed. Here are results from their most recent events:

  • Toyota’s assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, hosted a collection event in May 2018 for team members and residents from surrounding communities in partnership with the city of Georgetown, Scott County and Green Metals, Inc. In addition to household and electronic waste, team members and residents were provided with an option to have documents shredded and recycled. More than 796 vehicles came to the plant to drop off 117,737 pounds of waste.
  • Toyota’s assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, hosted household waste and recycling days for team members and Gibson County residents in October 2017 and April 2018 and collected 53,790 pounds of waste that was originally destined for landfill. Since the program’s inception in 2006, Toyota Indiana has collected 747,200 pounds of material from the community, including paints, oils, electronic equipment, fluorescent tubes and batteries. Additionally, the plant places four recycling containers in the parking lots for team members to drop off paper, cardboard, aluminum and glass from home. Over the last year, Toyota Indiana recycled more than 57,000 pounds on behalf of team members. The plant also collected and recycled 2,700 pounds of batteries from team members, which is the equivalent of about 54,000 AA batteries.
  • Toyota’s assembly plants in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario, hosted their sixth electronic waste drop-off for team members during Earth Month (April) 2018 and collected more than 7,500 pounds (3,400 kilograms).
  • Toyota’s head office in Toronto held its 11th annual event in June 2018 and collected 1,200 pounds of electronic waste and 700 pounds of donations.
Team members at Toyota's assembly plant in Kentucky

Team members at Toyota’s assembly plant in Kentucky helped unload household waste from a resident’s vehicle. Residents and team members were invited to drop off household and electronic waste for recycling and have paper documents shredded. More than 796 vehicles came to the plant to drop off 117,737 pounds of waste.

Household waste collection event in April 2018

During a household waste collection event in April 2018, about 150 vehicles came to Toyota’s assembly plant in Indiana to drop off household and electronic waste. The plant collected enough television sets to fill the truck shown in the photo more than six times!

Lexus Eco Challenge

Over the past 11 years, the Lexus Eco Challenge has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships that have helped more than 33,000 middle and high school students have an impact on their communities, learn about the environment and improve their teamwork skills. The annual Lexus Eco Challenge is an educational program and contest that inspires and empowers high school and middle school students to learn about an environmental issue, develop an action plan to address the issue, implement the plan and report on the results.

The Grand Prize-winning teams earn $30,000. Each winning team divides the grand prize: a $7,000 grant for the school, a $3,000 grant for the team’s teacher advisor, and $20,000 in scholarships for the students to share. Eight First Place-winning teams are awarded $15,000 each.

The 2017-2018 Lexus Eco Challenge had more than 2,300 students in grades 6 through 12 participate. Lexus and Scholastic reviewed the finalists’ innovative submissions and selected one middle school team and one high school team as the 2017-2018 Lexus Eco Challenge Grand Prize winners. The Grand Prize winners were the “Enerjagers” from Saint Joseph Academy in Cleveland, Ohio, and “Plastic Elastic 3.0” from Christa McAuliffe School (P.S. 28) in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Enerjagers and teacher advisor Kristen Schuler focused on reusing materials and trash that would otherwise find its way into a landfill. The students produced 600 candles from old glassware, crayons and beeswax and distributed them to local residents.

Plastic Elastic 3.0, guided by teacher advisors Malissa Yabut and Robert O’Donnell, explored and confronted the dangers of how microfibers work their way into our water supply and eventually into our food. They created jewelry from recycled plastic bags and gave them as gifts to young students and local seniors.

National Mayor's Challenge For Water Conservation

In 2018, residents from more than 4,800 cities across the United States took part in the seventh annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation by pledging to save over 3 billion gallons of water over the next year.

The challenge, presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S. EPA, National League of Cities, The Toro Company, Earth Friendly Products (ECOS) and Conserva Irrigation, addresses the growing importance of educating consumers about the many ways they can conserve water. As prospects of water reduction mandates grow in the U.S., the campaign provides cities with a way to engage residents with positive incentives and raises the collective water I.Q. of the nation.

For more information, see the full story here.

National Public Lands Day

Toyota encourages all team members, dealers and customers to offer a little nurture to nature on National Public Lands Day (NPLD). Held every September, NPLD is the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the U.S. It is a celebration of the work, play and learning that takes place on public lands every day and offers everyone an opportunity to help maintain these special places. NPLD is hosted by the National Environmental Education Foundation.

For the 19th consecutive year, Toyota was the national corporate sponsor of NPLD. In addition to financial backing for the program, Toyota hosted more than 30 events in 2017 at sites across the nation for employees, ranging from Oak Point Nature Preserve in Texas to Tombigbee State Park in Mississippi and The Leslie Science and Nature Center in Michigan.

In 2017, Toyota’s support made volunteerism possible at 2,100 NPLD sites, where 169,000 volunteers gave 680,000 hours of service worth $16.7 million.

Toyota’s plant in Mississippi hosted its third NPLD event at Tombigbee State Park as part of a five-year, $250,000 partnership with the park and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. More than 500 team members participated.

John Paul Blaylock, a group leader in Paint Kaizen, designed and headed a team of volunteers who created a new primitive campsite and — for each of the existing three sites — installed posts for hammocks, built a fire pit and grille and added benches as well as a swing and tent platform.

Meanwhile, Phillip Williams, a specialist in Facilities, managed teams that built a sand volleyball court, replaced a rusted-out basketball hoop and restriped the adjoining asphalt, and swapped out a faded 1970s-era park sign for a new one designed by one of Williams’ project leaders.

And while that was going on, other team members stained 15 picnic tables purchased by Toyota’s Mississippi plant.

Unlike past years, children were welcome. While their parents worked, the kids took part in relay races, hula hoop contests, face painting and other carnival-like activities. In addition, the Wyland Mobile Learning Experience was on hand to teach the next generation about water conservation.

Toyota Mississippi Team Volunteers

Team members from Toyota’s Kentucky assembly plant gathered at Suffoletta Family Aquatic Center for National Public Lands Day 2017.

Toyota Mississippi Team Volunteers

Toyota Mississippi team member volunteers pause to admire their handiwork: a new park sign designed by one of their own.

Team Member's from Toyota's Indiana Plant

Team members from Toyota’s Indiana assembly plant weeded, mulched, planted trees, picked up trash, painted park structures and built new picnic tables at Gavin Park for National Public Lands Day 2017. Toyota Indiana also donated $20,000 to the park to support future improvements.


Toyota is proud to join the ranks of the top 10 companies with the most Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®)-certified retail locations. While the list includes retailers from various industries, Toyota is the only automotive brand to be included in the top ranks.9

“Inclusion among the top 10 retailers to date for LEED certification, and being the only automotive brand, speaks volumes to the movement Toyota has achieved through our environmental efforts to improve the overall quality of life,” said Kevin Butt, director of Environmental Sustainability at Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). “Environmental leadership means supporting our dealers as we continue to drive environmental performance across four key areas – Carbon, Water, Materials and Biodiversity. Toyota is focused on environmental sustainability with a goal of zero impact by the year 2050.”

“Toyota is one of the leading examples of a business embracing sustainability and taking action to drive change,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. “As one of our Platinum level members and one of the most prolific users of LEED in their retail spaces, Toyota demonstrates an unmatched commitment to sustainable development and responsible growth among their peers in the automotive industry.”

Toyota and Lexus brands have achieved various levels of LEED certification for the construction and renovation of their sales and service areas. As of July 2018, 61 Toyota and Lexus dealers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico had achieved LEED certification, and more than 30 more are registered with the U.S. Green Building Council.

Toyota and Lexus work with their dealerships on an individual basis, providing guidance on sustainable strategies to achieve LEED certification and vendor support for products and programs such as LED lighting retrofits for energy savings. Through efforts like the Toyota Image II facility initiative and Lexus Vision USA, dealerships incorporate the best of sales and retail in an environmentally friendly setting featuring windows allowing for natural light and low-emitting interior finishes. There are approximately 1,850 Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the United States, Canada and Mexico, all independently owned franchises.

One such example is Kendall Toyota in Eugene, Oregon, a LEED Platinum® dealership. A few of their sustainable features include:

  • Photovoltaic Panels: With photovoltaic panels covering most of the dealership’s roof, they produce up to 30 percent of the building’s energy needs.
  • Recycled Cisterns: Two 10,000 gallon, above-ground cisterns are recycled fluid tanks. They serve as an important role in the water recycling system at the dealership.
  • Capturing and Recycling Rainwater: Approximately 60 percent of the water accumulated on the roof is collected and directed into two above-ground cisterns. This water supplies the car wash and landscape irrigation.
  • Other features include on-site storm water treatment, high-performance HVAC, day lighting, recycled building materials and native landscaping.

Toyota and Lexus recognize the hard work that goes into the LEED certification process. The continued efforts not only are attractive to environmentally conscious consumers, they also can provide dealerships an edge in recruiting and retaining team members.

The growth of LEED certifications by Toyota and Lexus dealers closely aligns with the company’s larger goal to have a net positive impact on society and the planet by the year 2050.

LEED®, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a point-based system administered by the U.S. and Canadian Green Building Councils promoting a whole-building approach to sustainable construction and remodeling. LEED® certification is based on meeting stringent requirements in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

9 Excludes financial institutions with retail bank locations. Toyota is the only automotive company in the top 10 (as of July 2018).


Establishing positive and productive working relationships with local, state, provincial and federal government agencies is vital for sharing ideas and facilitating a common understanding of issues. Sharing information helps us understand the government’s concerns and helps them understand how potential new requirements impact our business. Together, we can seek a balance that protects health and the environment without putting unnecessary burden on our facilities.

  • Our assembly plant in Indiana has been a member of Partners for Pollution Prevention since 2006. This program is organized by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to provide a forum for local businesses to discuss and share pollution prevention (P2) successes and challenges with each other and to advise IDEM on P2 policies and programs. The sharing of ideas amongst Indiana businesses allows everyone to improve together. Good ideas are shared, as are bad ideas so that everyone learns from mistakes and challenges.
  • Our assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, has been a Leader in EnHance (Envision Heightened Awareness Nurturing Conservation & Environmental Excellence) since 2013. EnHance is a voluntary environmental stewardship program run by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) that recognizes committed environmental leaders who accomplish goals beyond their legal requirements. In 2017, the Mississippi plant’s membership was renewed through 2020. Toyota’s Mississippi plant was a platinum sponsor of EnHance’s 2018 annual workshop and awards luncheon, where the program marked its 10th anniversary.
  • In recent years, several large companies, including Toyota, have moved headquarters to the city of Plano in Texas. They’ve brought jobs, but their presence has also led to increased traffic congestion and a higher population density. To address these issues, the city’s Environmental Health and Sustainability Department convened the Corporate Sustainability Forum in 2017 to bring together some of the city’s largest businesses to share and network with each other and to put their extensive expertise together to help solve the city’s mobility and transportation challenges. The group meets every other month, bringing together sustainability officers from Toyota, Capital One, FedEx, NTT Data, Ericsson, Pizza Hut, Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group, Bank of America, Plano ISD, Children’s Medical Center and PepsiCo/Frito-Lay. Toyota hosted the March 2017 meeting of the group. Forum members are currently exploring options for a joint initiative that all members can work together on to support the city’s commitment to sustainable living.
  • Our assembly plants in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario, offer tours to Canadian ministries to demonstrate the minimal impacts of our operations. Regulators have told us these tours helped them see firsthand and understand the controls we already have in place and how risks are managed.
  • Toyota’s two Ontario assembly plants participate on the Automotive Manufacturing Working Group facilitated by the Facility Environment and Energy Committee of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association. This working group meets regularly with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the Provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to discuss upcoming regulatory changes.


Toyota recognizes that environmental impacts extend into our supply chain. When considering the full life cycle impacts of manufacturing, distributing and driving vehicles, supply chain impacts outpace our own. That’s why the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 directs us to work with suppliers to achieve three main goals:

  • Engage with suppliers to eliminate CO2 emissions from the process of manufacturing the parts and materials we purchase to make our vehicles (Challenge 2). Toyota Motor Corp. joined CDP’s Supply Chain Program, which helps us gather information on major supplier initiatives worldwide. We will continue to use this information to prioritize engagement with major suppliers in North America.
  • Eliminate CO2 emissions from our own operations and third-party logistics (Challenge 3). Below, we discuss how working with third-party carriers is helping us meet this challenge.
  • Collaborate to help establish a recycling-based society (Challenge 5). We work with our suppliers to help us find ways to reuse packaging and recycle damaged parts. See the Materials chapter for more information.

Meeting these challenges depends on close collaboration with our major suppliers. Collaboration takes many forms, and training is arguably the most vital joint activity. During fiscal year 2018, team members at our assembly plant in Tecate, Mexico, conducted training for 160 on-site suppliers from seven supplier companies. The training covered waste management practices in a “dojo” setting – a room with interactive exhibits that provide a more hands-on experience. The same training was also given to all the plant’s new hires plus 89 team members in five different shops.

Toyota is a member of U.S. EPA’s Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP), an innovative partnership between automobile original equipment manufacturers, their suppliers and EPA. SP provides a forum for small, mid-sized and large automotive and vehicle suppliers to work together, learn from each other and share environmental best practices. Toyota is currently co-chairing the Materials Efficiency Working Group with General Motors.

Third-Party Logistics

Toyota’s logistics network is a complex operation that ensures smooth shipping and delivery of vehicles, parts and accessories, from the supplier to the plant, to Toyota’s distribution centers, and ultimately to dealerships and customers. Through the use of returnable shipping containers, packaging reductions, light weighting and densification, our own logistics operation has reduced waste, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and we have helped our third-party logistics carriers do the same.

We set a target to reduce the GHG intensity of both owned and third-party logistics by 5 percent by fiscal year 2021, from a 2016 baseline. Fiscal year 2018 results can be found here. This target supports the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, which calls for eliminating CO2 emissions from operations and logistics (Challenge 3).

Toyota’s production control logistics operation – which procures the parts and materials used to manufacture our vehicles – has been working on a strategy to reduce GHG emissions from two primary sources: over the road transportation (OTR) and cross dock yard operations. Their focus is converting diesel-powered OTR equipment to alternative fuels such as renewable compressed natural gas, and to trial alternative power systems at the cross docks such as electric shunt trucks.

Ryder System Inc. (Ryder) has a fleet of trucks and trailers dedicated to Toyota operations. The company operates at several of our larger plants, including the assembly plants in Kentucky, Indiana and Texas. We have been working with Ryder on developing a plan to help us meet our 2021 target to improve GHG intensity from logistics operations by 5 percent as well as the Challenge 2050 goal to eliminate CO2 emissions from manufacturing and logistics operations.

Ryder carries parts from our suppliers either directly to the plants or to a cross dock (where materials are consolidated and loaded onto trailers without warehousing). The company has replaced 29 of its diesel trucks that move goods for Toyota’s assembly plant in Kentucky with trucks that run on renewable CNG (compressed natural gas). The CNG is considered renewable because renewable natural gas credits are purchased from the fuel provider to offset GHG emissions.

By 2021, Ryder hopes to convert one-third of its Toyota-dedicated fleet to renewable CNG, which will result in a 5 percent absolute reduction in GHG emissions.

Team Members

We expect our team members to be environmental ambassadors. We expect them to be educated about Toyota’s environmental activities and participate in projects that improve our environmental performance, and we want them to be inspired to share our know-how with others.

We take a variety of approaches to educating team members about the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 and our North American environmental action plan and activities. We host lunch-and-learns, publish newsletters and include an overview of Toyota’s North American Environmental Report in new hire training. We want to make sure everyone at every level — not just those with the word “environmental” in their job title — is aware of our environmental activities and understands they have a role to play. Some of our sites give team members a chance to test their environmental knowledge through a trivia game and award the high scorers with T-shirts and other prizes. The engine plant in Alabama hosted an open house for family and friends in October 2018, where the Environmental Department had a booth to showcase information about Challenge 2050. Our assembly plants in Ontario use their internal newsletter to raise awareness about Toyota’s environmental performance and provide educational material to help team members live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle at home.

Team members play a major role in identifying projects that protect nature, save energy and water, and reduce waste. Some projects require a small group of dedicated team members, and others succeed thanks to help from our suppliers. A number of these projects are described in the Carbon, Water, Materials and Biodiversity sections of this report. Each year, all sites are asked to submit examples of their best environmental projects for a chance to win one of Toyota’s global Eco Awards.

Finally, we encourage team members to take all the good things we do at work and share their know-how with others. Earth Day provides an annual opportunity for us to educate and engage team members on environmental topics and empower them to take what they know home and into their communities. Many of our locations host activities for a week or even a whole month that include a chance for team members to give back to their communities.

At our assembly plants in Ontario, Earth Month participation in 2018 increased by 35 percent compared to 2017. The plants awarded prizes to team members for participating in any online or in-person Earth Month activity. For example, team members were asked to submit a Green Pledge and explain how they would make a positive change for the environment. During Earth Month, 530 team members stepped up to the challenge and submitted their Green Pledges to cut waste and water use, shift to reusable containers and away from disposable plastic bottles, and use more efficient lighting at home. Two team members won tickets to An Evening with Jane Goodall as she described her extraordinary scientific breakthroughs in animal behavior and her journey to becoming one of the world’s most prominent and active conservationists.

Pollinator Garden Tour
Pollinator Pond Tour

Toyota’s engine plant in Huntsville, Alabama, hosted the Girls, Inc. and Boys and Girls Club at the 2018 Earth Day Celebration. Team members took the children on a tour of the pollinator garden (left) and pond (right) and hosted treasure hunt activities, games and prizes.