Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Toyota’s Guiding Principles put commitment to people and the environment at the heart of everything we do. We strive for growth in harmony with the environment that strengthens the communities around us.

Building strategic partnerships is an integral element of Toyota’s commitment to sustainable growth. Toyota partners with nonprofit and community organizations, schools, universities, trade associations and other businesses. Elsewhere in this report, we describe how Toyota shares its knowledge and expertise with partners to lessen environmental impacts. Through partnerships we also promote stewardship, education and research. (Target 15.1) Toyota’s signature partnership is with the National Audubon Society, featured below. Through a grant from Toyota, Audubon launched TogetherGreen™, a program that aims to inspire people to take action to improve the health of our environment. In its fourth year, TogetherGreen is active in 182 cities and 49 states across the U.S.

The North American Environmental Report (on the Web at is used to communicate our environmental plans, activities and performance to our partners and other interested stakeholders. (Target 16.1) Providing this information publicly helps our partners better understand how we address environmental issues within our business and across the vehicle life cycle.

We recognize that the most challenging issues require a broad set of stakeholders to discuss options and develop workable solutions. This is why a number of our partnerships, such as those discussed in the Energy and Climate Change chapter on advanced technology, involve multiple organizations, business and government. We also participate in and sponsor meetings and conferences with experts on a variety of topics to address issues such as sustainable mobility and smart cities. For the last few years, we sponsored Meeting of the Minds conferences and have been hosting Sustainable Mobility Seminars to explore the future of mobility.

In this chapter, we describe a number of our national partnerships that promote environmental education, stewardship and research, as well as examples of local community engagement.

In 2008, Toyota and the National Audubon Society launched a five-year program called TogetherGreen™, funded by a $20 million grant from Toyota. The program has three main components:

  1. Fund conservation projects by established environmental groups across the U.S. through Innovation Grants.
  2. Train the environmental leaders of tomorrow as Fellows.
  3. Offer volunteer and individual action opportunities that significantly benefit the environment through Volunteer Days.

Toyota and Audubon announced the Year Three Innovation Grants in late 2010. Nationwide, 43 projects in 27 states will receive nearly $1.1 million to support solutions-based environmental projects. Funds were awarded to partnerships between Audubon groups (local Chapters or programs of Audubon’s large national network) and other organizations in their communities—with more than 125 partner organizations involved in Innovation Grant projects in the coming year. Some of the projects that received grants include:

  • The Louisville Audubon Society will work with local volunteers in Goshen, Kentucky, to restore grassland at the Creasey Mahan Nature Reserve.
  • The Potomac Valley Audubon Society will create a nature park at the headwaters of Flowing Springs in Ranson, West Virginia.
  • With an emergency grant from TogetherGreen, Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center has been able to restructure their summer programming to provide children affected by the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011 with healing nature camps, while providing their parents with much-needed time on their own to restore their homes and communities. After the tornado struck, the Joplin Family YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club were overwhelmed with requests for their services. Wildcat Glades is providing children with high quality environmental activities in a safe place, integrating art therapy, nature journaling, volunteerism and other learning activities to help the children experience the power of nature to heal, and to inspire them to become more deeply engaged in environmental stewardship. The Center is also working to provide free trees to devastated neighborhoods, and children participating in the camps will make bird houses out of lumber reclaimed from the tornado to distribute along with the trees.

Toyota and Audubon also selected 40 Year Three TogetherGreen Fellows based on their leadership, skills and commitment to engaging people of diverse backgrounds. In all, the 2010 Fellows will help engage thousands of people to protect habitat, wildlife and water and save energy in 34 cities in 22 different states. The Fellows include:

  • Kenya Stump (Lexington, Kentucky) will form the “Kentucky Biofuels for Schools Program” to educate high school students on biofuels and installing biodiesel processing equipment.
  • Sara Peel (Warsaw, Indiana) will educate children and adults on the Wabash River ecosystem by developing a Web-based tool to study stormwater impact, carbon footprints and wildlife habitat.
  • Justin Schott (Ann Arbor, Michigan) will expand the Detroit Youth Energy Squad (D-YES), a program that trains young people to perform energy retrofits and teach residents to understand energy bills and practice conservation.
  • Sara Espinoza (Washington, D.C.) will develop and translate materials into Spanish for meteorologists in the Telemundo network to teach viewers conservation tips during weather reports.

To date, TogetherGreen volunteers across the country have donated over 700,000 hours, including more than 700 Toyota employees in New York, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Texas and California. For more information on TogetherGreen, please visit

Photo of people outside.
This Green Initiative Tour is part of Sara Peel’s place-based education campaign along the Wabash River. Sara is one of 40 TogetherGreen Fellows.

National Public Lands Day
For the 12th year, Toyota sponsored National Public Lands Day (NPLD) in partnership with the National Environmental and Education Foundation (NEEF). This national program, held annually in September, is the largest hands-on volunteer event to improve and enhance public lands.

In addition to providing sponsorship, Toyota encourages employees to get involved in NPLD activities by volunteering to care for parks, forests, rivers, beaches, shorelines and other public lands. During NPLD 2010, more than 3,500 Toyota employees volunteered at 41 different sites in 20 states and U.S. territories (please see Figure W).

Figure W NPLD 2010 Toyota Site List

Each year, more and more Toyota associates are becoming involved in NPLD. From the program’s inception in 1999 through 2010, the number of sites where Toyota employees volunteer has grown from 18 to 41. Similarly, employee participation has increased from nearly 900 Toyota volunteers in 1999 to more than 3,500 in 2010.

During NPLD 2010, more than 170,000 volunteers maintained existing trails and built new trails and bridges, beautified stream beds, removed trash and invasive plants, and planted 1.6 million trees. These projects contributed an estimated $15 million in improvements to federal, state and local public lands. For more information, please visit

Willamette Riverkeeper and a host of other partners coordinated an NPLD cleanup event to clean 187 miles of the Willamette River. Employees at Toyota’s Portland, Oregon, vehicle distribution center hosted a cleanup at Cathedral Park to clean the Portland Harbor portion of the river.

Photo of three men on a boat.
Using 10 canoes, 13 kayaks and four motorboats, Toyota employees helped clean up a portion of the Willamette River during a 2010 NPLD event.

Partnership With WWF in the Galápagos Islands
Ten years ago, on January 16, 2001, an oil spill in the Galápagos Islands resulted in approximately 240,000 gallons of oil and bunker fuel being dumped into the ocean near San Cristóbal Island. World Wildlife Fund® (WWF) asked Toyota to help evaluate the overall impact of fossil fuels in the islands—the risks of using and transporting them, as well as ways to avoid future oil spills. This marked the beginning of a unique partnership. Within seven months, that partnership produced the Galápagos Energy Blueprint, aimed at transforming the islands’ energy systems from traditional fossil fuel-based systems to a system based on sustainable energy sources and clean technologies.

Since 2001, WWF and Toyota have worked together to implement the Energy Blueprint and transform the Galápagos into a model of community-based conservation and sustainable development. The partnership has also evolved to address other issues such as waste management and recycling. A Waste Management Blueprint for the Galápagos Islands was created in 2009, and now nearly 50% of all waste generated on the islands is being recycled.

Key accomplishments related to both energy and waste management include:

  • The design and renovation of the islands’ central fuel storage facility on Baltra Island.
  • The implementation of a solar energy project that meets most of the electricity needs on Floreana Island.
  • A renewable energy education campaign.
  • The expansion of an oil recycling project on Santa Cruz Island and the establishment of a similar project on San Cristóbal Island.
  • A comprehensive recycling program on Santa Cruz Island.
  • The creation of a Municipal Environmental Department on Santa Cruz Island.
  • An ongoing recycling education campaign.

Education and outreach have been key components of everything we’ve done in the Galápagos Islands. As we have grown in our knowledge and experience in working in the islands, we have broadened our scope beyond just energy. We look holistically at what “sustainability” requires, such as building the human capacity of the islands. We hope this project can serve as a model elsewhere in the world for the possibilities that partnerships can create.

Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds
In Canada, we set a target to contribute at least 25% of our philanthropy to environmental programs annually. We have met this target each of the past five years. (Target 15.2) One example of this philanthropy is our partnership with Evergreen. Toyota in Canada and its dealerships have partnered with Evergreen for over a decade, working together to transform Canadian school grounds into natural learning environments. The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program has empowered close to one million students at almost 3,000 schools across Canada, helping them create inviting natural play spaces and outdoor learning environments.

In granting over CAN$2 million for greening projects at Canadian schools, the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds program offers students a close, hands-on relationship with the natural world while educating them about the importance of restoring, protecting and celebrating it. In the process, students transform their traditional school grounds, which are often a combination of asphalt and turf, into natural learning spaces that feature trees, wildflowers and shaded areas.

In just one of many examples from across the country, Learning Grounds worked closely with students at Montreal’s Perspectives II High School, which has many high-risk youth from tough neighborhoods. As part of the “McGill-Evergreen Teaching for a Healthy Planet” field initiative, Perspectives’ students planted native trees and shrubs and built benches, planters and a mural. The students increased their knowledge and understanding of environmental issues, and were able to apply their classroom learning in a real context, bridging the theory-to-practice gap that exists in many teacher education programs.

Please also visit the following Web sites for information on two of our other national programs:

Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA Program

National 4-H Council’s 4-H2O Program

Toyota International Teacher Program
Now in its 13th year, the Toyota International Teacher Program promotes environmental conservation and sustainability as well as global understanding through international study tours for secondary school teachers from the United States. Administered by the Institute of International Education, the program began in 1998. Since then, more than 635 educators nationwide have traveled to the Galápagos Islands, Costa Rica or Japan, completing a two-week study tour to a country where finding innovative solutions to environmental challenges is a high priority. Please see for more information.

Upon returning to their classrooms, these teachers apply what they have learned to create interdisciplinary, solution-focused educational approaches. It is estimated that more than 635,000 students have benefited from these travel programs and expanded curriculums. The teachers also participate in professional conferences, seminars and community workshops to share what they have learned.

During a recent study tour held in 2010, U.S. teachers traveled to the Galápagos and interacted with local environmental experts and Galapagueño teachers. To prepare for that tour, the selected teachers visited Everglades National Park in Miami for a brief orientation and exploration of the Everglades biosphere, which is similar to that of the Galápagos Islands.

Both present and past study-tour participants have been successful in increasing environmental awareness and global understanding in U.S. classrooms. Examples of such teachers include:

  • Past Galápagos participants Mary Craig and Sheri Thompson collaborated to create a library for Delia Ibarra Elementary School in the Galápagos. The two teacher-librarians are leading students and teachers in fundraising efforts for the books and other library materials, and are raising funds for U.S. students to travel to the Galápagos Islands on a service trip in summer 2012.
  • Dana Crosby, former Galápagos participant, led her class to win a $20,000 grant provided by National Geographic and SunChips®. Crosby and her students built a greenhouse with the funding. As a result, her students now understand how to plant “green” gardens, grow organic produce and prepare organic meals, and reduce their carbon footprints by eating locally grown foods.
  • Jason Shields, former Costa Rica participant, stated that the tour gave him an “experience that completely revolutionized my pedagogy.” Shields now leads his students in creating a backpack hydro electric generator, building wind turbines, and spearheading leasing his school’s roof space for solar panels, allowing the school to buy back the energy for an inexpensive price.

This year, Toyota extended the reach of the Toyota International Teacher Program with its first study tour to the Republic of South Africa. A record number of 1,026 applications were received from which 24 teachers from 18 states were selected. The study tour enabled these teachers to learn first-hand about sustainability and conservation efforts in South Africa, the country’s rich cultural heritage, and the economic and political issues facing the country today.

During their travels to Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Kruger National Park, teachers participated in a variety of activities that highlight the relationship between South African history, culture and the environment. U.S. teachers were matched with South African educators of similar grade level and focus area to better aid in collaboration both in the field and after the program. This collaboration is a first of its kind for the program.

Through the Toyota International Teacher Program, teachers are helping local communities contribute to solving global problems, and their students are being exposed to a global experience that enhances their understanding of environmental issues in their own communities and around the world.

Photo of two women planting.
A teacher and her host plant cacao at Finca La Virgen near Guácimo, Costa Rica, as part of a study tour under the Toyota International Teacher Program.

Wyland Foundation
Toyota formed a relationship with the Wyland Foundation, an organization founded by the renowned marine life artist of the same name. This group helps children and families around the U.S. discover the importance of healthy oceans and waterways through public art programs, classroom science education and live events.

By serving as Wyland’s environmental education outreach partner, Toyota worked with the foundation to launch Earth Month Heroes, a program that recognizes exemplary teachers who are not only finding ground-breaking ways to encourage students to work toward sustaining a healthy planet, but who also believe in the difference each student can make. Throughout the month of April, one teacher per day was honored based on their ability to foster interest in environmental studies. Winning teachers from Los Angeles and Orange Counties, grades K-12, each received a $500 cash prize for their classroom, with a chance to win a $5,000 grand prize to support their education efforts. In addition, Wyland recognized and honored the winning teachers at a special Earth Month Kickoff event on March 31, which also served as a rededication ceremony for Wyland’s restored marine life mural “Gray Whale Migration,” in Redondo Beach.

In conjunction with Earth Month Heroes, the Wyland Foundation and Toyota sponsored the Mayor’s Challenge, a contest that brought cities across Southern California together to focus on water conservation and pollution reduction in a friendly competition. Based on a successful pilot program in Orlando, Florida, the Mayor’s Challenge encouraged cities to register residents for an online water conservation pledge. During Earth Month, individual pledges from citizens applied toward their city’s total water savings and pollution reductions over the following year. Hermosa Beach was the city with the highest percentage of participating residents, and was recognized for pledging to save 121,540,821.5 gallons of water.

Photo of Wyland with Prius Plug-in Hybrid
The artist Wyland painted a mural with the help of family and friends at the 2010 Green Port Fest in Long Beach, California. Toyota supports the Wyland Foundation, founded by the artist of the same name to educate children and families about the importance of healthy oceans and waterways.

Please also visit the following Web sites for information on two of our other national programs:


Lexus Eco Challenge

Toyota supports research partnerships that promote reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. (Target 15.3) Over the past five years, we funded a project through the Pew Center on Climate Change that researched best practices implemented by major companies in reducing energy use and GHG emissions. The results of the project were shared in 2010 through conferences, media and the Pew Center Web site.

Southern Forests for the Future
In 2009, Toyota awarded $1.49 million to the World Resources Institute to support Southern Forests for the Future, a project to raise awareness of the threats facing southern U.S. forests and to increase the amount of forest conserved or managed in a sustainable manner. In 2010, the project focused on identifying and developing a portfolio of options that align economic incentives with keeping forest as forest. In 2011, the options demonstrating the most promise are being piloted and rolled out. The project’s long-term goal is to help catalyze sustainable stewardship of an additional 20% of southern U.S. forests by 2020.

Since the project began, 75,000 visitors have linked to to learn about the threats facing forests and Toyota’s partnership with WRI.

Toyota has developed partnerships with local community organizations where we live and work. These partnerships allow our employees a chance to volunteer in their communities and to share their knowledge and expertise.

Below are examples of how we engage with our local communities:

  • The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is an event sponsored by the Vancouver Aquarium. Employees from Toyota’s plant in Delta, British Columbia, volunteered this year to clean up part of the shoreline. Data logged about the garbage and debris collected during the event is being used by the aquarium staff to research the origins and prevalence of shoreline litter.
  • World Water Monitoring Day™ is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Employees from Toyota’s plant in Princeton, Indiana, worked with 2,375 sixth grade students to sample water at various locations.
  • YMCA Camp Carson annually hosts an interactive and educational experience celebrating Earth Month. Employees from Toyota’s Indiana plant invited nearly 400 Gibson County third grade students from 11 schools to the camp this year.
  • The Ohio River Sweep is an event held in six states to clean up the banks of the Ohio River and several of its tributaries. Employees from Toyota’s North American manufacturing headquarters campus in Erlanger, Kentucky, participated in this year’s cleanup.
  • The Nature Conservancy received $25,000 from Toyota’s plant in Kentucky for its 30 nature preserves and over 100 conservation easements. With this funding, the Nature Conservancy plans to implement the proper management needed to ensure the preserves continue to benefit rare and threatened plant and animal species.
  • The 47th Annual West Virginia Youth Environmental Day was sponsored by Toyota’s West Virginia plant and held at North Bend State Park in Parkersburg.
  • The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy in California received a Tundra from Toyota to be used to assist in habitat restoration and trail maintenance on the 1,600 acres of preserved land that spans the peninsula.
  • The 186th Street Elementary School in Gardena, California, was joined by actress Malin Akerman for an Earth Day assembly and tree planting. Toyota underwrites support of this school as part of the Environmental Media Association’s work with schools across Los Angeles to create and support organic garden programs. These gardens are used to teach students in urban areas about science, nutrition and the importance of protecting the planet.

MillionTreesNYC is a citywide, public-private program with an ambitious goal: to plant and care for one million new trees across New York City’s five boroughs by 2017. By planting one million trees, New York City can increase its urban forest—a valuable environmental asset made up of street trees, park trees and trees on public, private and commercial land—by 20%, while achieving the many quality-of-life benefits that come with planting trees.

Toyota is one of the primary sponsors of this project, launched in 2007 jointly by the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York Restoration Project. Since the program’s launch, more than 500,000 trees have been planted throughout the city, putting the program one year ahead of schedule.

Kentucky Plant’s Wildlife Habitat Council Certifications
The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) is a nonprofit group of corporations, conservation organizations and individuals dedicated to restoring and enhancing wildlife habitat. WHC works with corporations and other landowners to create tailored voluntary wildlife habitat enhancement and conservation education programs on corporate facilities and in the communities where they operate.

The Wildlife Habitat Council’s Corporate Wildlife Habitat Certification/International Accreditation Program recognizes commendable wildlife habitat management and environmental education programs at individual sites. Certification criteria are stringent. Sites must demonstrate that programs have been active for at least one year with a management plan that lists goals, objectives, prescriptions and complete documentation of all programs.

The Certification Review Committee, a panel of WHC wildlife biologists and staff, reviews the materials for certification eligibility and recognizes deserving projects under an appropriate category. WHC offers certification in two separate categories: Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning.

In 2008, our plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, was the first Toyota plant to obtain certification to the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning programs. The plant’s programs began in 2006, when they set aside 50 acres within the 1,300-acre site for an Environmental Education Center and Nature Trail. The one-mile trail runs through old and second-growth forest and features educational kiosks and tree identification posts. Kiosks and posts explore a variety of topics such as the prairie habitat, wildflowers, birds, aquatic life and composting.

Photo of children on a tour outside.
Students visiting the Environmental Education Center and Nature Trail at Toyota’s Kentucky plant learn about prairie habitat, birds and wildflowers. They also learn about composting, recycling and other ways that industry can reduce its impact on the environment.

Since 2006, bridges, decks and benches built from sustainable materials have been added to the trail, and the plant partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore native habitat. They planted eight Short’s goldenrod plants, a federally endangered species, and transplanted Kentucky switch cane that, once established, will provide a healthy home for migratory birds and small mammals. The plant also partnered with Bluegrass Personal Responsibility In a Desirable Environment (PRIDE) and teachers from local high schools to create a Web-based curriculum for fourth through 12th grades. These activities focus on the same environmental issues students learn about while visiting the nature trail: water quality and conservation, solid waste, energy and air quality.

In 2010, more than 5,600 students visited the Environmental Education Center and Nature Trail at Toyota’s Kentucky plant. A transportation fund was established in 2008 to help schools offset the cost of a trip. More than 1,300 students have benefited from this fund since 2008.

Between the tours of the plant and the use of the environmental education center, students, scout groups and the community are shown Toyota’s vision of how industry and the environment can coexist. Other North American plants are also exploring certifications with WHC.