Toyota’s principal business partners are suppliers and dealerships. We work with both of these groups in North America to encourage them to support our environmental values and goals.

When engaging with our business partners, we use the same principles from the Toyota Way that guide our own actions. We practice yokoten and promote the process of setting targets and conducting treasure hunts to find kaizens, continuous improvement opportunities. Together, we are able to reduce the environmental impacts of building and selling our vehicles.

In Vehicles and Operations, we highlighted examples of our efforts to become more efficient and reduce waste. In this chapter, we highlight similar activities by our suppliers and dealerships. For example, we’ve helped our suppliers identify annual energy savings of over 43.5 million kilowatt-hours per year. And, by certifying to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® program, a growing number of our dealerships are using less water and energy, recycling more, and generating less waste. By working to increase their own efficiency and reduce waste, our business partners are supporting Toyota’s mission to respect the planet and contributing to a more sustainable future.


Toyota recognizes that environmental impacts extend into our supply chain. We have a vast network of suppliers providing us with everything from parts and accessories, to waste management and cafeteria services and office supplies. We work closely with our suppliers to share our knowledge and experience to help them improve their environmental performance.


We facilitate “treasure hunts” with interested suppliers to help them identify ways to reduce their energy use. This is one way we practice yokoten, or share our knowledge and experience, outside the organization. Since 2008, Toyota has shared our energy treasure hunt process with 180 Tier 1 (direct) suppliers. We have also participated in treasure hunts with 41 suppliers, helping them identify annual energy savings of over 43.5 million kilowatt-hours - equivalent to 15,200 metric tons of CO2 per year.

During a treasure hunt, participating suppliers agree to host and allow other suppliers to enter their facility. Treasure hunts are conducted from Sunday to Monday to ensure participants see the plant in its rest, start up and production modes. Participants receive training, access to Toyota’s energy tools, and support from the engineering team on investigating and designing energy reduction projects.


Toyota’s truck assembly plant in San Antonio, Texas, reduced landfill waste by 71 percent through an innovative partnership with Waste Management, Inc. Toyota sends about 65 tons per month of trash from the assembly plant to Waste Management’s first-ever process-engineered fuel facility at Covel Gardens. Here, the trash is pelletized into SpecFUELTM, a high-BTU and clean-burning fuel.

Waste Management’s SpecFUEL is a sustainable energy alternative to coal, biomass and other traditional solid fuels. It is used to produce steam, electricity or heat for kilns or industrial boilers that typically burn non-renewable fossil fuels to produce energy. Produced under strict, engineered controls, SpecFUEL is created by mechanically extracting beneficial materials contained within municipal solid waste such as recyclables, organics and non-recyclable commodities. What’s left is then categorically separated and proportionately recombined to produce fuel pellets.

After two years of testing and evaluations to ensure Toyota’s waste met Waste Management’s specifications, our Texas plant finally began sending trash to Waste Management’s newly completed fuel facility in early 2013.

Green Metals, Inc., our recycling partner in San Antonio, played a vital role in the success of this project. Since 2008, Green Metals has been looking for a viable waste-to-energy option for the Texas plant. “A number of options were on the table early on,” said Eddie Metz, Operations Manager at Green Metals. “But when the recession came, things changed. So we kept our eyes and ears open, and when Waste Management began building the facility in Covel Gardens, we knew all the pieces of the puzzle were finally fitting together.”

Team members at Toyota’s Texas plant are excited about this partnership. Not only does this project help us get closer to our “zero waste to landfill” goal in San Antonio, it is also spurring additional kaizens. For example, team members have improved waste sorting to increase the capture of recyclable material. And, since food waste is too wet to be pelletized, team members are looking for compost options.

The alternative to pelletizing would have been a 600-mile journey for our waste to the nearest waste-to-energy facility. The Covel Gardens plant is only 14 miles from our Texas plant, and the SpecFUEL is used by a cement manufacturing facility 29 miles from Covel Gardens. This partnership is a win for everyone: We reduce waste to landfill and avoid greenhouse gas emissions; Waste Management gets a reliable waste stream; and the use of this fuel reduces emissions from the cement plant of sulfur, mercury and greenhouse gases. This process can also be transferred through yokoten to our on-site suppliers and to other companies in the San Antonio area.

“Team members here at the Toyota plant in San Antonio are committed to following our company’s Global Vision and Earth Charter,” said Chris Nielsen, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas. “We strive for zero emissions and zero waste, so we are pleased the partnerships with Waste Management and Green Metals have helped us overcome significant challenges in finding a suitable alternative to landfill. Waste Management’s waste-to-fuel technology has been a major step forward in our efforts to become a zero waste to landfill facility.”


There are approximately 1,850 Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the United States, Canada and Mexico. These dealerships are all independently-owned franchises. In keeping with our overall philosophy, it is important we share our environmental values and our know-how with the dealership population and support their efforts to be environmentally responsible.

We work closely with our dealerships to promote green building practices, since buildings - both residential and commercial - have a large environmental footprint. Buildings are responsible for about one-third of the energy consumed in the United States and Canada. Green buildings can reduce energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions by 25-60 percent, water use by 30-95 percent, and solid waste by 50-95 percent, and they have been shown to improve employee health and productivity.

Both our Toyota and Lexus divisions work with dealers on new construction and remodeling projects through programs that encourage sustainable building practices and the use of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system. LEED 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 evaluations in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor air quality.

We emphasize three areas to our dealerships to get the best return on investment from green building practices: using high-quality materials on the building envelope (particularly the insulation and the roof), using LED lighting in both interior and exterior areas, and right-sizing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. A study performed on LEED-certified Toyota dealerships shows the average dealer who completes the LEED process can save up to 69 percent on their energy costs per square foot per year (based on a 52,000 square-foot building). The often rapid return on investment for environmentally sustainable materials, energy-efficient lighting fixtures and other LEED elements confirms the economic benefit of building green.

Toyota has been working on LEED projects with our dealers since 2005. We have created a body of knowledge about our dealership population by closely tracking utility cost and usage information, from LEED and non-LEED dealerships alike. This data allows us to identify opportunities for improvement, and, by questioning monthly changes in water use, has even led to the identification of a water leak at a dealership in California. By collecting this information and practicing yokoten - adopting successful practices as standard and then sharing them - Toyota is helping our dealership population understand the many positives of building green.


We are leading the industry with the number of dealerships certified to LEED. So far, we have assisted 36 Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the United States and Canada with LEED certification: 28 Toyota dealerships and four Lexus dealerships in the U.S., and four Toyota dealerships in Canada. Several more dealerships have completed construction and are waiting for their ratings to be decided. Many more are under construction or in the design and permitting phase and have registered their intent to pursue LEED with the U.S. or Canadian Green Building Councils. In North America, Toyota and Lexus dealerships combined have over 2.1 million square feet of LEED-certified building space.

“Toyota is a proponent of LEED-certified dealerships for many reasons,” said Ernest Bastien, Vice President of Retail Market Development at Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “When a Toyota or Lexus dealer facility team meets green building standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, they receive attention not only for the energy cost savings, but also for being responsible members of the community. Toyota and Lexus have more LEED-certified dealers than the rest of the auto industry collectively.”

Figure 33


The new Hendrick Lexus facility in Merriam, Kansas, has been completed and is currently in the mid-stage of final documentation submittals to the U.S. Green Building Council for their LEED certification. When it receives certification, it will be the sixth LEED Lexus dealership in North America.

Examples of sustainable strategies implemented to reduce or eliminate impacts to the environment and lower operating costs include:

  • Installing a white roof, thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), and R-30 insulation on all roof surfaces to minimize heat gain and increase energy efficiency.
  • Commissioning high-efficiency HVAC equipment with multi-zone variable air volume (VAV) systems, single zone VAV systems, and infrared heaters along with a lighting control system to verify installation, calibration and performance are operating to design requirements.
  • Purchasing Green Power from grid-sourced renewable energy technologies.
  • Installing lavatory faucets and low-flow plumbing fixtures with sensor flush valves in guest and employee restrooms, and a high-efficiency landscape irrigation system to reduce water consumption by approximately 30 percent.
  • Installing low emitting carpet and composite wood products with low volatile organic compound (VOC) sealants and adhesives.
  • Implementing a recycling program for both guests and employees.

“We are proud to have the nation’s first side-by-side Lexus and Toyota LEED-certified facilities,” said Rick Ulin of Hendrick Automotive Group. “Green building helps us meet our strong commitments to our customers, communities and the manufacturers we represent by reducing our environmental impact.”


Welland Toyota achieved a special milestone. As part of a CAN$3.2 million project to create a state-of-the-art, 2,000-square-meter building, Welland Toyota incorporated a host of green elements to become the third Toyota dealership in Canada to obtain Gold certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System.

The Welland facility boasts many leading-edge features that have resulted in substantially reduced use of water and energy, along with significant waste reductions. Highlights include:

  • Savings of 100 percent on landscape irrigation, 97 percent on sewage conveyance, and 85 percent on potable water as a result of low-flow fixtures and a 50-cubic-meter cistern to capture rainwater, plus having an on-site stormwater treatment system.
  • Using reclaimed water for washing vehicles, to save 600 cubic meters per year of water.
  • Energy cost savings of 54 percent through radiant floor heating, high-efficiency boilers, VRF cooling, state-of-the-art lighting, and a roof finished in reflective materials to reduce energy demands in the summer.
  • Using FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified products, ensuring wood products come from sustainably grown forests.
  • Diverting 92 percent (131 tons) of construction waste from landfill, while using 17 percent recycled materials in construction, with 25 percent of materials regionally sourced.
  • Initiating a comprehensive green housekeeping program.

“We take great pride in this outstanding new facility that demonstrates how good business and doing what’s right for the environment can go hand in hand,” said George Farlow, Dealer Principal of Welland Toyota. “We’re excited about serving our customers in a home that serves as a model in the Niagara region, setting the highest possible standard of excellence in environmental design.”


Of Toyota’s 36 LEED certified dealerships, three are certified Platinum, the highest level of certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council:

  • San Francisco Toyota in California, certified in 2013
  • Maguire Toyota in New York, certified in 2012
  • Kendall Toyota in Oregon, certified in 2010

One of the focal points of LEED certification is materials management, which encompasses conservation of natural resources, waste minimization, recycling and material sourcing. Buildings with Platinum LEED certification recycle demolition and construction waste as well as paper, plastics, metals and oil from the dealership’s daily activities, reduce inefficiencies in water and energy consumption, and use recycled content and sustainable materials in everything from the floors to the furniture. Read on to find examples of these practices at Toyota’s three Platinum LEED dealerships.

San Francisco Toyota

Toyota’s latest dealership opening in San Francisco is the company’s third LEED Platinum- certified dealership in the United States and the first ever for California. Originally a barn in the 1800’s used to house horses that pulled cable cars along Geary Street, San Francisco Toyota is the last dealership in what was once a robust auto row. Nearly 100 percent of the original structure was left intact, including the brick walls, wood timber roof and concrete flooring.

Recycled content and sustainable materials, such as bamboo and FSC-certified wood, were used throughout the showroom and in employee areas. In total, over 75 percent of nonhazardous construction waste and demolition debris was recycled.

The showroom features strategic day lighting, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, and energy-efficient lights. The rooftop photovoltaic solar array produces approximately 80 percent of the building’s electrical needs.

In addition to providing training on eco-friendly practices and ensuring all dealer employees understand the sustainable aspects of the building, employees are encouraged to utilize nearby public transportation or bike to work. Employee areas have designated recycling stations for paper, glass, metals and plastics in coordination with San Francisco’s mandatory recycling and composting ordinance.

As a leader in providing electric vehicles to the Bay Area, San Francisco Toyota has a designated parking spot for on-site electric vehicle charging. One of the most innovative additions to San Francisco Toyota is the 2013 Toyota RAV4 EV. The 2013 RAV4 EV marries the efficiency of an electrical vehicle with the versatility of a small SUV - and is the only all- electric SUV on the market. A product of a unique collaboration with Tesla Motors, the RAV4 EV combines a Tesla-designed and produced battery and electric powertrain with Toyota’s most popular SUV model.

Maguire Toyota

The earth-friendly efforts of the Maguire Family of Dealerships have resulted in a LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for the Maguire Toyota, Scion, Kia, Volvo, Volkswagen and Audi store in Ithaca, New York. Maguire Family of Dealerships is the first and only multi-brand dealership to receive this prestigious certification in the United States.

Maguire can reuse roof-collected rainwater to wash cars, flush toilets, and landscape. The building’s new roof includes 180 solar panels generating 20 percent of the store’s electricity. The store can also reuse engine waste oil from customers’ oil changes by recycling it into various renewable applications.

Even the renovation and construction practices of the building earned high green marks, as Maguire reused 95 percent of the building’s original structure and recycled 97 percent of the project’s construction waste.

“We made this investment because it was the right thing to do for both our customers and our community. It was our way to contribute toward making Ithaca a better place to live, visit, and do business,” says Tim Maguire, co-owner of the Maguire Family of Dealerships (with Phil Maguire).

Maguire is using 64 percent less water and 45 percent less energy than a building of comparable size. The lighting is more efficient than industry standards; the dealership uses only one watt per square foot.

Kendall Toyota

Kendall Toyota in Eugene, Oregon, was Toyota’s first Platinum LEED certification. Certified in 2010, the dealership has solar panels to meet 40 percent of the building’s energy needs, and captures and recycles 60 percent of the rainwater from the roof using cisterns.

In addition, this facility also features on-site stormwater treatment, high performance HVAC, day lighting, recycled building materials, native landscaping and efficient irrigation. To make the step from Gold to Platinum, the dealership enacted several new procedures including purchasing renewable energy credits and conducting annual life cycle analyses on the building.