“WATER” IS ONE OF TOYOTA’S FOUR FOCUS AREAS IN NORTH AMERICA. OUR APPROACH TO WATER STEWARDSHIP ADDRESSES CHALLENGE 4 OF THE TOYOTA ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE 2050 AND CALLS FOR CONSERVING WATER, PROTECTING WATER RESOURCES AND SHARING OUR KNOW-HOW WITH OTHERS. EVERY LIVING THING NEEDS WATER TO SURVIVE. WHAT WE DO TODAY TO PROTECT THIS PRECIOUS RESOURCE CREATES LASTING VALUE AND BUILDS A BETTER TOMORROW FOR US AND THE PLANET.
INTRODUCTION TO WATER
Water is at the heart of every aspect of human development. We need water for health, food, energy, the environment and economic growth.
Globally, threats to water availability and water quality are increasing. According to the United Nations3, demand for fresh water has increased by a factor of six over the past 100 years and continues to grow steadily at a rate of about 1 percent per year. By 2050, global water demand will be 30 percent higher than today and up to 3 billion people could be living in potentially severely water-scarce areas.
Water is a finite resource, and global population growth – expected to increase from 7.7 billion to between 9.4 and 10.2 billion people by 2050 – puts a strain on this already stressed resource. Rising demand for water threatens the safety and health of people and impacts the balance of nature.
To address water issues and increase how we value this resource, we’ve developed a North American strategy through 2050. To learn about our strategy and how it relates to the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, read our Water Position Statement.
3 For more information, see The 2018 World Water Day Factsheet (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002614/261424e.pdf) and The United Nations World Water Development Report 2018: Nature-Based Solutions for Water (http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0026/002614/261424e.pdf)
10 / TMNA's Approach to Water Stewardship
Our WATER focus area relates to Challenge 4 of Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050. This challenge recognizes water as a global issue that must be managed locally. As the availability of clean water becomes more and more important to Toyota communities in drought-stressed regions of North America, we will continue to manage and preserve this critical resource. In North America, our approach to conquering this challenge involves three actions:
Between fiscal years 2017 and 2021, Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) will:
Prioritize and implement water stewardship plans for facilities in water-stressed areas (on track)
TMNA’s water stewardship strategy focuses on facilities located in areas of water risk. We define water risk according to Aqueduct™, a tool developed by the World Resources Institute to help companies, investors, governments and communities better understand where and how water risks are emerging around the world. The centerpiece of Aqueduct is the Water Risk Atlas, which creates customizable global maps of water risk. The Atlas combines 12 indicators in three categories (physical risk quantity, physical risk quality, and regulatory and reputational risk) to create an overall map of where and how water risks may be prevalent.
The Water Risk Atlas is helping us further focus water conservation efforts on sites in water-stressed regions and on sites with concerns about future water availability. The Aqueduct tool is also helping us incorporate all water risk factors into our analysis, which will aid in developing future tailored strategies for certain sites and/or regions within North America.
We have mapped all our North American locations (manufacturing plants, offices and parts and vehicle distribution centers). The Atlas shows 15 of Toyota’s North American locations in areas of “high” overall water risk (Level 4) and 25 in areas of “medium to high” risk (Level 3). Currently, we do not have any sites in areas of “extremely high” risk (Level 5).
In fiscal year 2018, 7 percent of the water Toyota withdrew in North America was at sites in areas of high water risk (Level 4), as defined by the Water Risk Atlas. Through the end of fiscal year 2021, we will be working on developing water stewardship plans at our highest risk sites. These plans will address water conservation (including potentially absolute water reduction targets), water quality, and outreach activities with suppliers and local communities.
11 / Toyota’s Overall Water Risk in North America
This map was generated using data from WRI’s Aqueduct™ Water Risk Atlas. The Atlas combines 12 indicators to create an overall map of where and how water risks may be prevalent. We mapped more than 100 sites in North America, including assembly and unit plants, R&D centers, parts and vehicle distribution centers, and office buildings. We show on the above map the 40 sites in two risk categories: “high” (Level 4) and “medium to high” (Level 3). We do not have any sites in the “extremely high” (Level 5) category. Circles with numbers inside indicate multiple facilities of that type; the map is too small to show each site in that area. For example, there are four non-manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico, which is a Level 4 risk area.
During fiscal year 2018:
- Toyota withdrew 1.85 billion gallons of water at more than 100 North American facilities, including assembly and unit plants, parts and vehicle distribution centers, R&D sites and offices.
- More than 99 percent of this water came from municipal sources (both fresh and recycled water from utilities); other sources included surface water bodies, groundwater and rainwater.
- We estimate 1.2 billion gallons were discharged, either to surface waters or to municipal utilities.
- Consumption (defined as withdrawal minus discharge, or the water that was not returned to either a municipal utility or surface or ground water) was 630 million gallons.
- Our North American manufacturing plants recycled or reused 148 million gallons, which is 8 percent of our total withdrawal.
- Water intensity – gallons of water per vehicle produced – was 972 gallons. Several sites, including those in Puerto Rico, were included in our data for the first time. At the time this report was published, we had not finished updating data from previous years to include these sites. We will report trends again next year.
Our assembly plant in Mexico expanded production by 60 percent and added 800 new team members. With such a significant increase in production, team members were on the lookout for ways to reduce water use. Five projects completed in the paint shop – the plant’s biggest water user – including reducing rinse time during electrodeposition, saved about 7 gallons per vehicle, or an estimated 784,000 gallons of water per year.
During fiscal year 2018, the assembly plant in Kentucky – Toyota’s largest plant in the world – began recovering water from two sources: condensate from the humidity in compressed air and residual water from the high pressure humidification system in the paint booths. The recovered water is used in the plant’s chilled water towers, reducing the amount of fresh water needed. Because the quality of the recovered water is better than the fresh water purchased from the municipality, this activity also allows the water to be used more efficiently, further reducing fresh water use. Recovered water is also used in the compressed air process. Compressing air not only generates condensate, it also generates heat, so the process requires cooling water. The plant reduced the amount of fresh cooling water needed by using some of the recovered condensate. Combined, these projects save the plant nearly 2.5 million gallons of fresh water per year.
The assembly plant in Mississippi is one of our newer assembly plants and has had the most success reducing water use. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of team members, absolute water use has been reduced by 32 percent since fiscal year 2016. This past year, they eliminated 80,000 gallons of water that were drained during cooling tower cleaning by switching from a manual process to a robot. The use of a robot eliminates the need to drain the tower and refill it with fresh water as well as the need to add chemicals to treat the water. Team members also found a way to use existing equipment in the paint shop to pump water from the air supply house to the cooling tower for use as makeup water. Condensation from the heating and cooling units is also being collected and used as cooling tower makeup water. Combined, the plant is now able to recycle nearly 1.4 million gallons of water to the cooling tower per year.
This is the robot used at Toyota’s Mississippi assembly plant to clean the cooling tower. Using the robot eliminates the need to drain 80,000 gallons of water during the cleaning process.
PROTECTING WATER RESOURCES
According to the United Nations, over 80 percent of the wastewater generated by society globally flows back into the environment without being treated or reused. Unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene cause over 800,000 deaths per year.
Wastewater issues are not just a concern in the developing world. For example, here in North America, “dead zones” –areas where marine life can’t survive due to low oxygen levels – form in the Chesapeake Bay, off the coast of Oregon, in Lake Erie, and in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is caused by excess nutrient loading from poorly treated wastewater in the Mississippi River basin.
Water quality monitoring is a key component of Toyota’s environmental management systems. Some of our sites discharge wastewater that we treat and monitor to meet local, state and federal regulations and to ensure we don’t negatively impact water bodies. In fact, Toyota requires all manufacturing sites to operate below discharge permit limits by an average of 20 percent. There were no unplanned discharges of wastewater that adversely affected water bodies during fiscal year 2018, and no water bodies were adversely affected by Toyota’s wastewater discharges.
Toyota’s Texas assembly plant makes an annual donation to support one of the San Antonio River Authority’s monitoring stations. The River Authority was established in 1937 to protect the San Antonio River Basin, an area covering over 3,600 square miles. The river basin supports our San Antonio assembly plant and vehicle distribution center as well as our on-site suppliers.
During the remainder of this action plan period (through the end of fiscal year 2021), we will be assessing Toyota’s North American sites in areas of high water risk. We will consider the projected future availability of water at these sites and the potential impacts of our withdrawals to other water users.
Toyota supports community efforts to educate individuals and families and encourage water conservation. These activities help to scale up conservation efforts and make positive outcomes more impactful.
For example, Toyota is the national sponsor of the Waterkeeper Alliance’s annual SPLASH event series. Waterkeeper Alliance is one of the largest and fastest-growing nonprofits solely focused on clean water. Between June and August 2018, 20 SPLASH events took place on waterways across the United States, engaging thousands of community members and outdoor enthusiasts in water-based recreational activities like swimming, paddling, kayaking and fishing. Engaging people with their local waterways is a crucial part of securing drinkable, fishable, swimmable water.
Toyota and Lexus dealerships are also engaged in water conservation activities. Several dealerships have installed rainwater collection cisterns, including Toyota of Cedar Park in Austin, Texas. During the hot, humid Austin summers, the rooftop HVAC units can create up to 4,000 gallons of condensate in a single day. The condensation run-off is fed from the HVAC units to a cistern. Additionally, the showroom rooftop and service drive canopy are plumbed to direct rainfall into the cistern. The cistern is used as the primary water source for the local, native, arid-tolerant landscaping at the site.
How do you get people excited about saving water? You start a competition. A big one. Competitions get people excited and engaged, so starting a nation-wide competition that involves almost 5,000 cities seems like a pretty good idea.
That’s exactly what Toyota and the Wyland Foundation thought when they started the annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation in 2012. During the month of April, mayors across the country ask residents to make a commitment to conserve water and cut pollution by taking part in a national contest aimed at drastically slashing water use across the U.S.
Since the Challenge’s inception, the campaign has generated more than 1.6 million pledges and encouraged the conservation of 12.3 billion gallons of water across the U.S.
The challenge addresses the growing importance of educating individuals about the many ways they can conserve water — for example, by swapping out their lawns in favor of drought-resistant native plants, fixing leaks and looking at how we use water for food and manufacturing. 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.
In 2018, residents from 4,800 cities pledged 618,000 specific actions over the next year to change the way they use water in their homes, yards and communities. By sticking to their commitments, the collective efforts of these residents would reduce national water waste by 3 billion gallons.
Most people can’t even fathom that much water. According to the U.S. EPA, the average American family uses more than 300 gallons per day at home. Participants of the challenge have pledged to save the amount of water used by roughly 28,000 families per year.
The cities with the highest percentage of residents making pledges during the 2018 campaign were Gallup, New Mexico; Westminster, California; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tucson, Arizona; and Dallas, Texas.
The partnership between Wyland Foundation and Toyota began in 2010 as part of a series of Wyland Living Green Fairs in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Long Beach, California. As part of the Living Green Fairs, the Wyland Foundation created an opportunity for mayors in several communities to engage in a challenge to see which city’s residents could pledge to save the most water over the course of a month.
“The program seemed to strike such a chord that we talked with Toyota about expanding it to more communities,” said Steve Creech, executive director of the Wyland Foundation.
After growing the program in Southern California, a national campaign was launched in 2012, with support from the U.S. EPA, National League of Cities, The Toro Company, Earth Friendly Products (ECOS) and Conserva Irrigation.
Toyota Social Innovation team members and Wyland Foundation staff work continually to refine and enhance the Mayor’s Challenge as one of the nation’s leading programs for promoting a broader understanding of the many ways water is used across the United States.
“Toyota employees not only take the challenge, but often volunteer to participate in Wyland Foundation community events,” says Wyland. “It’s a true collaboration in every sense of the word.”
“Water is one pillar of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050,” explained Kevin Butt, director of Environmental Sustainability at TMNA. “Water is a critical resource for our company, and we are committed to doing our part and helping others. The National Mayor’s Challenge has become one of the largest water conservation programs of its kind in the United States, and we are honored to be a part of it.”
In addition to reducing water, challenge participants in 50 states made pledges in 2018 to reduce the use of 8 million single-use plastic water bottles and eliminate 177,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, pledges will also result in potentially 79.9 million fewer pounds in landfills. Potential savings of 22.2 million gallons of oil, 12.6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 191.9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, and $38.4 million in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results.
And soon, the challenge will be going global. The Wyland Foundation is working with the United Nations Environment Program as the official outreach partner of the Wyland World Water Pledge.
Kevin Butt (right), director of Environmental Sustainability for Toyota Motor North America, with acclaimed artist Wyland. Wyland hand-painted one of his famous marine life artworks on a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.