At Toyota, Respect for the Planet goes beyond our vehicles and our operations. We believe we can also be a vehicle for change in our communities. That’s why we support environmental stewardship and education programs across North America.

We accomplish our philanthropic goals through partnerships with universities, K-12 schools, nonprofits and community organizations. Together, we create programs with lasting impact that support our Global Vision, Guiding Principles and Earth Charter.

We share our expertise with our partners in an effort to make every relationship the best it can be. Toyota has contributed millions of dollars, countless vehicles and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to help conserve and protect the environment in North America. The impact of our programs has local, national and even international reach.

We describe a number of our partnerships in this chapter. Throughout this report, we have been highlighting stories about our efforts to increase efficiency and reduce waste, as this is one of our four core areas of focus. In this chapter, we feature a number of partnerships working on recycling and waste reduction. Please see in particular our stories about working with WWF in the Galápagos to implement energy and waste management blueprints; teaching elementary school students in Indiana about recycling and water conservation; and the winner of the Toyota Green Initiative, who helped a university in Louisiana start a recycling program.

These stories and others illustrate our commitment to partnerships that educate and promote environmental stewardship. We often reach one class, one school, one community at a time, but we are encouraged by the positive difference our efforts are making across the region.

SPOTLIGHT PARTNERSHIP: Toyota Partners With WWF in the Galápagos

For over a decade, Toyota and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have been working together to transform the Galápagos Islands into a model of community-based conservation and sustainable development.

Our partnership began with the creation of an energy blueprint to address the impacts of the spill of diesel and bunker fuel in 2001 off San Cristobal Island. We then moved on to a waste management blueprint to improve waste handling practices and encourage recycling.

WWF and Toyota have worked together to provide on-site technical expertise to the Municipality of Santa Cruz, helping to design and improve their waste management system. We have provided technical expertise to create a municipal Environmental Department, implement environmental policies, and develop environmental standards and guidelines. We have also furnished expertise and funding for a mechanical composter, which has enabled a significant increase in the amount of organic material collected and put to productive secondary use.

With design assistance from Toyota, a new municipal solid waste landfill has been constructed and is now in use on Santa Cruz Island. The island also has a new recycling center, where plastic, glass, aluminum and paper are collected and shipped to Ecuador for recycling. Over the past year, there has been a 22 percent increase in the amount of waste recycled or composted on Santa Cruz Island, thanks in large part to this unique partnership.

“The situation on Santa Cruz is more sustainable now,” said Kevin Butt, Regional Environmental Director, Toyota North American Enviromental. “With the Mayor’s strong support and commitment to these efforts, waste management practices have improved and the community is becoming more engaged. We are proud Toyota know-how has been able to make such a difference here.”

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 and waste. 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 partnerships can create.

SPOTLIGHT PARTNERSHIP: National Audubon Society

In 2013, Toyota announced a $3.5 million grant to the National Audubon Society to extend Toyota TogetherGreen™, bringing the total funding since 2008 to $23.5 million. Toyota TogetherGreen invests in emerging conservation leaders and funds innovative community-based conservation projects throughout the United States. Now in its sixth year, the program has engaged nearly half a million participants in conservation action in all 50 states.

In 2013, Toyota TogetherGreen continued to support:

  • Fellows: Forty Fellows received $10,000 grants as well as specialized training to help them with 12-month projects in their communities.
  • Innovation Grants: Up to 40 grants ranging from $5,000-$80,000 were awarded to support cutting-edge conservation projects to address habitat, wildlife, water or energy issues across the U.S.
  • Exit the Highway: A summertime digital campaign to inspire people to drive the scenic route and spend more time in nature. By pledging to Exit the Highway and explore nature, participants entered to win a Toyota Prius v. To learn more, visit

Each year, Toyota holds a four-day training event for the incoming class of Fellows. Training includes the basics of the Toyota Way, as well as tips on how to communicate their stories effectively so that the projects funded by TogetherGreen can grow and expand into longer-term projects with wider reach.

“Since launching this program in 2008, I have had the privilege each year of helping to train the incoming classes of Fellows” said Kevin Butt, Regional Environmental Director, Toyota North American Enviromental. “So, I am able to say from firsthand knowledge that Toyota TogetherGreen is having an important and tremendous impact on the conservation of air, water, energy and habitat in our country, but also we are engaging people from all backgrounds to take an active role in the future of critical conservation work.”

For more information on TogetherGreen, please visit

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San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood is predominantly a low-income community of color (more than 50 percent of its households are considered low or very low income) that has historically served as the dumping ground for the city’s most toxic industries.

Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) was founded as an outpost of environmental awareness and urban sustainability in this often overlooked and troubled area of San Francisco. As a bold expansion of the organization’s ongoing mission, the Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant they received, “Bringing San Francisco to the Slough,” targets the San Francisco Bay tidal wetlands and its many endangered species. In partnership with California State Parks, the California State Parks Foundation and Golden Gate Audubon Society, a core group of five youth leaders from nearby neighborhoods (along with others) are participating in growing and maintaining new plants in the restoration area, along with monitoring the impact on species diversity. In addition, the plant nursery and youth development program will lead volunteers and school groups in growing more than 7,000 plants, then use them to develop an accessible and welcoming new habitat for wild and human life.


Benjamin Haberthur didn’t need to be recognized as a 2012 Toyota TogetherGreen Fellow in order to be seen as a hero. Ben returned in 2003 after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has been awarded a Combat Action Ribbon, two Marine Corps Reserve Medals, and a Presidential Unit Citation (among other honors). However, Ben says that his project, funded by a Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship, is his most rewarding achievement. His project helps returning veterans utilize nature and service to help fight Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Ben, who has a B.S. in Environmental Science from California State University, Monterey Bay, saw that his personal experience with nature and conservationism could become a broader experience shared by fellow vets who may be struggling with symptoms of PTSD. “I returned to school, anxious to get on with my life, and I discovered, while exploring the coastal areas of California, nature provided a peaceful and calming alternative to the stresses of my former military life.”

So, with the simple motto “a country worth protecting is worth preserving,” and the support of a $10,000 grant from Toyota TogetherGreen, Ben was able to create Veterans Conservation Corps of Chicagoland. Ben and his team utilize their skills from the Marines and Army to rejuvenate parks, but more importantly, he brings this nature work that healed him to his fellow veterans.

Some organizations aren’t able to attract the younger men and women of today returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Ben believes this makes his work critical. “My target is younger vets,” Haberthur said. “I think they relate differently than in years past.” Helping to put these heroes on a path to recovery through nature is a fight all Americans can support.

Arbor Day Foundation

Held on Thursday, April 26, 2013, this year’s National Arbor Day holiday marked the fifth anniversary of the Tree Campus USA program. Launched by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota in 2008, this program recognizes college campuses - large and small, public and private - that commit to environmental standards to promote tree planting and encourage conservation service in students. So far, 191 distinguished schools have received the Tree Campus USA designation. This year, the program partnered with the African-American sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, to encourage service in their chapters. To support this partnership, Tree Campus held additional tree planting events at historic black colleges and universities.

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Evergreen Learning Grounds

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 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 - often a combination of asphalt and turf - into natural learning spaces featuring trees, wildflowers and shaded areas.

The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program offers schools access to landscape design expertise and a resource library featuring how-to guides and information on native plants. It also provides interactive workshops for teachers and others to show them how they can weave the natural space into their curriculum.

“Bringing nature back to schools is so important, and makes a huge difference to students and their education,” said Lynette Nastich, Principal at Frenchman’s Bay Public School in Pickering, Ontario. “Frenchman’s Bay P.S. is so grateful for the support provided by Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds and the local dealership, Pickering Toyota. Through their continued support, we can make the student’s dreams for a green, naturalized school yard come true.”

Since the program’s inception, almost 6.7 million people have benefitted from a Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds project, including 81,279 teachers and over one million elementary and secondary school students at 3,324 schools. Nearly 80 percent of Toyota dealers across Canada have partnered with schools in their local communities.

National Public Lands Day

On September 28, 2013, the National Environmental Education Foundation, with support from Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., celebrated the 20th anniversary of its National Public Lands Day (NPLD) program. NPLD represents the nation’s largest, single-day effort for engaging families, children, government agencies, schools, businesses and other stakeholders in preserving and protecting public lands across the nation. Toyota’s signature event was held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site (MLK Jr., NHS) in Atlanta, Georgia. Here, volunteers focused on the restoration of historic houses adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr.’s first home, as well as weeding, mulching and painting.

  • Fostering collaboration between public land managers and local community groups (“Friends Groups”) to educate and engage the public in stewardship.
  • Building the capacity of local nonprofit organizations to execute year-round land preservation events while attracting and connecting diverse communities to public lands.
  • Mobilizing volunteers to connect to their public lands on National Public Lands Day and throughout the year.
  • Educating and expanding the kinds of volunteers (such as businesses, youth, families, colleges and universities) who participate in land preservation events in local communities.

As national sponsor, Toyota contributes $3 million to NEEF’s “Every Day Grants” program to improve the capacity of local organizations and Friends Groups supporting public lands every day. These grants come at a time when public lands are in critical need of financial and volunteer support. 2013 marks the first year NEEF awarded Friends Groups up to $2,000 each to hold a minimum of three Every Day Events. More than 100 Friends Groups were awarded funding to host environmental education, recreational and/or volunteer-based stewardship events in more than 122 cities and towns across America. By increasing the number of visitors who have good experiences on public lands, Friends Groups are the spark that continues to engage communities on our treasured lands. As a result of their efforts, they are helping to preserve 20 million acres of public lands.

In addition to working year-round to help protect and preserve public lands across the nation, NEEF holds NPLD, the nation’s largest hands-on volunteer event specifically designed to improve and enhance public lands. NPLD is held annually in September. 2013 marks NPLD’s 20th anniversary and the 15th year of partnership between Toyota and NPLD.

In addition to providing sponsorship, Toyota encourages employees to get involved in NPLD activities by helping to care for local parks, forests, rivers, beaches, shorelines and other public lands. During NPLD 2013, more than 180,000 people, 3,400 of them Toyota employees, volunteered at over 2,150 different sites in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Volunteers maintained existing trails, beautified stream beds, removed trash and invasive plants, and planted an estimated 100,000 trees, shrubs and native plants. These projects contributed an estimated $18 million in improvements to federal, state and local public lands. For more information, please visit

Figure 36

NEEF and Toyota’s support for public lands serves as an excellent example for public-private partnerships, which are key to lasting conservation solutions for our nation. Such partnerships also support the goals of America’s Great Outdoors initiative, a grassroots approach to protecting lands and waters and connecting all Americans to their natural and cultural heritage.

“Thousands of local nonprofit organizations are answering the call to help their public lands maintain grounds and trails, and generally keep up with growing interest in their use locally and nationally,” said Diane Wood, president of NEEF. “But many groups lack the necessary resources to be as effective as they possibly can. Toyota’s gift unleashes the power of these groups to serve their local parks and lands by increasing their capacity to establish lasting organizations, recruit volunteers and involve their communities.”

Scholastic and Lexus Eco Challenge

Lexus, in partnership with Scholastic, sponsors the annual Lexus Eco Challenge. Since the program began in 2006, Lexus Eco Challenge has awarded $4 million in scholarships and grants to empower middle and high school students to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. More than 25,000 students have participated to date, learning how they can make a difference in the world around them.

In addition to the ongoing contest, Lexus Eco Challenge provides educational materials designed by Scholastic that integrate creative lesson plans into the classrooms to help teach students about the environment. For each challenge, the website ( has lesson plans and teacher instructions including questions to help guide a discussion about the current challenge topic, facts about the topic, and guidelines for a specific classroom project.


For their entry in this year’s Land and Water challenge, teacher advisor Maribel Pregnall and her team, the Elymenators, examined the considerable number of Lyme disease cases reported in their hometown. For the Final Challenge, the team reviewed the data they gathered about the local spread of the disease in order to apply their findings to an international campaign. The Elymenators mailed letters to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to petition for re-administration of the Lyme vaccine and visited local schools and medical offices to educate people about Lyme disease prevention (and the correlation between the disease and nearby wildlife destruction). For a wider-ranging approach, the team contacted various national hospitals and got enthusiastic notes of support from medical facilities in India, South Korea and Germany.


For their Final Challenge project, teacher advisor Alexandra Davis and the Eco Hawks put it simply: “We focused on people’s knowledge of recyclable items.” Even though green issues have received more national attention over the past 10 years, the team’s home state of South Carolina has an extraordinarily low recycling rate at 27.7 percent. (In 2011, Virginia and Washington reported 43 percent and 50 percent, respectively, for example.) The Eco Hawks used their state’s reportedly low enthusiasm for recycling as an incentive to get the word out. The results are quite inspiring: The team partnered with dozens of local organizations, appeared in newspapers and local television news, spoke to the House of Representatives, and more. Their programs yielded a 16 percent increase in local curbside recycling, and the students collected nearly 70,000 plastic bottle caps for recycling.

Toyota Green Initiative

Toyota Green Initiative (TGI), an environmental stewardship platform designed to empower the African-American community to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, awarded student Corban Bell of Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, the grand prize of TGI’s third annual Green Campus Contest. Bell’s plan and establishment of a permanent, campus-wide recycling program at his school earned him a 2012 Toyota Prius one-year lease and $5,000 toward the purchase of trees for the Grambling State University campus. He also received membership to the TGI Coalition, a collective of environmental experts and celebrities who speak on sustainability within the African-American community.

Wyland Foundation

Since 2009, Toyota has supported the Wyland Foundation, a nonprofit founded by renowned marine artist Wyland that helps children and families across the United States recognize the importance of healthy oceans and waterways.

Presented nationally by Wyland Foundation and Toyota, the National Mayor’s Challenge had participation from 70 mayors across the United States, including Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock; D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray; Columbus, Ohio, Mayor Michael B. Coleman; Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn; Tucson, Arizona, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild; and Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mayor David Coss. City leaders encouraged their residents to participate in the online challenge, which also provided access to regional water and energy resources along with cost-saving tips.

Five U.S. cities were honored in May 2013 for residents’ commitment to water-saving choices as part of the second annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Separated into five categories according to population, the winning cities are Denver, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona; West Palm Beach, Florida; Bremerton, Washington; and Laguna Beach, California. Residents in all 50 states made more than 44,000 online pledges to save water, use less energy and reduce pollution in four categories - home, yard, community and life - with potential cost savings of more than $30.6 million, almost three times the amount pledged last year.

“This year’s challenge gathered the support of an impressive list of cities, mayors, corporations and nonprofits, all of whom shared our enthusiasm for working toward a more sustainable future,” said environmental artist Wyland, founder of the Wyland Foundation. “Congratulations to the winning cities. The environmental education and pledges will have an impact in bringing the conversation about conserving resources closer to home.”

At a May event in Denver, Mayor Hancock drew the grand prize winner of a new Prius c from the pool of winning cities’ participants, who were also eligible to win hundreds of water-saving fixtures and gift certificates to Lowe’s stores. A $1,000 Lowe’s Shopping Spree will also be chosen from among the entire pool of U.S. participants. The National League of Cities, CH2M Hill WaterMatch, Rain Bird Corporation, Lowe’s home improvement stores, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense, and the U.S. Forest Service supported the challenge, too. The additional support from well-known comedians through Comics for Conservation, a series of public service announcements, expanded this year’s environmental message. Pete Dominick, longtime SiriusXM® host, stand-up comic and CNN contributor, was the official spokesperson.

Toyota’s partnership with the Wyland Foundation and the Mayor’s Challenge included a new element this year - an eight-state U.S. environmental educational tour to schools and communities, reaching 4,000 students. The mobile, 1,000-square foot Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Experience featured interactive exhibits to demonstrate the relationships between humans and water.

“Toyota has a deep commitment to environmental sustainability across our operations, making our work with the Wyland Foundation a natural and rewarding fit,” said Michael Rouse, Vice President of Diversity, Philanthropy, and Community Affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “By helping expand the reach of the National Mayor’s Challenge this year, we hoped to encourage more people to learn and participate in conserving natural resources.”

In addition to making water-saving pledges, challenge participants pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles by more than 5.4 million bottles and eliminate 69.9 million pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, pledges also resulted in potentially 18.3 million fewer pounds in landfills and 2.2 million fewer pounds of fertilizer in the waste stream. Potential savings of 67.8 million gallons of oil and 2.7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide rounded out the final pledge results.

To learn more about the National Mayor’s Challenge, visit

Local Community Engagement

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

Toyota is proud of our employees for their volunteering across North America. Our employees take what they learn about energy saving, water conservation, recycling and biodiversity, and apply these practices at home and in their communities. Our employees embody our Action Guidelines, which encourage us to always be concerned about the environment and to actively participate in our communities.

Below are a few examples of how we engage with our local communities.


Several of Toyota’s North American locations hosted household hazardous and electronic waste collections for employees and surrounding communities as part of Earth Day celebrations. These collections ensure proper recycling or disposal for household items such as appliances, cell phones, paint, batteries, pesticides, automotive fluids, furniture stains and bathroom cleaners. Some sites have added clothing and toys to their collection days and donate these to Goodwill. These events demonstrate how Toyota extends its commitment to waste reduction beyond its production activities.


Each year, team members from Toyota Technical Center - our research and development division with locations in Michigan, Arizona and California - find new homes for used electronics assets. Last year, over 500 pieces of electronic equipment, such as cell phones and computers, were donated to nine organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America in Michigan, the 186th Street School in Gardena, California, and Eve Place in Arizona. We also donated six production engines and four transmissions to a local high school. Working on today’s cars requires a deep understanding of technology. Toyota’s donations provide teachers with the necessary tools to educate students about industry standards, and encourage students to consider careers in the automotive service and repair industry. These donations also keep this material out of a landfill while helping out worthy organizations.


Each year during Environmental Education Week, students from local schools visit the Environmental Education Center | Nature Trail at Toyota’s Kentucky plant for a special Environmental Field Day. Six learning stations are set up along the nature trail and activities are led by guest organizations, such as Louisville Zoo and Salato Wildlife Education Center. Team members from the plant’s Community Relations and Environmental departments are on hand to support the event.

Toyota’s Kentucky plant hosts over 40,000 visitors each year from around the country. Here is what one teacher had to say about her visit with us:

“Just from one visit to Toyota, we determined we could do more for our school environment,” said Kristi Fehr, a fifth-grade science teacher from Liberty Elementary in Fayette County. “We were inspired to create a more natural habitat in our school garden and added some trees, a bird-feeder station complete with birdhouses, and bird baths. At lunch just outside the Toyota Nature Trail, the students even learned about composting. At the time, our students were used to recycling, but composting was a fairly new idea for them. Since our visit, the kids at our school chose to spend science club award money to purchase a composting bin for our school garden. Our visit continues to make an impact as each grade level coming up sees the green improvement projects of those that came before them.”

We are excited the experience had such a lasting impact on Kristi’s students. And we are also impressed with the way her students practiced yokoten of composting to meet their needs and situation. We hope this is something that can be transferred to even more schools.


During Earth Week, 86 employees from our Canadian sales headquarters - including Toyota Canada’s President Seiji Ichii, members of the executive committee, Japanese coordinators and associates - ventured into their local community for “20 Minute Makeovers” of a nearby ravine, a ditch and a playground. In addition, the employees at the Montreal and Toronto vehicle processing centers participated in clean-up events. In all, 111 bags of trash were collected.


Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana - our assembly plant in Princeton - has been a partner with local elementary schools since 2000. Together, they engage thousands of students each year in activities that teach about environmental issues such as recycling and water quality.

Students are introduced to Toyota in the third grade, when they spend a day during Earth Week at Earth Aware Camp at Camp Carson. They participate in activities and games designed to teach them something about the environment. Volunteers from the Mesker Park Zoo are on hand to teach about the food web and help students track the flow of energy through an ecosystem. Then team members from Toyota run a Recycle Relay to teach students what can be recycled and what can’t. The children enjoy a magic show by the Magic Gardener, then make homemade notebooks out of recycled paper and write an Earth Day pledge inside.

“Hands-on activities stick with the children much longer,” says Lisa Kuhn, a teacher from North Elementary. “That’s why activities like the Recycle Relay work so well. This was my first experience with Toyota and I’m already planning next year’s trip.”

Toyota’s next interaction with these students is also during Earth Week in April, when our Indiana plant sponsors a poster contest for fifth-grade students in Gibson, Vanderburgh, Posey and Warrick counties. The winning design is put on the T-shirt given to all sixth-grade students who participate in the World Water Monitoring Challenge™ in the fall.

The design theme for 2013 was water quality. Students had to design a poster that focused on why we need clean water and how to protect the earth’s water resources. This year, more than 60 schools participated in the contest with over 2,000 designs.

“Toyota Indiana has supported the World Water Monitoring Challenge activities since 2005 and has donated over $300,000 for this initiative over the past eight years,” said Kelly Dillon, Manager of External Affairs at Toyota. “Our goal is to continue to share the importance of water quality to our students, and we hope to do that by expanding the program to more counties in the future.”

In September, Toyota worked with sixth-grade students to sample about 100 different lakes, rivers and streams across southwestern Indiana. Monitoring data will be uploaded into the WWMC database. In recognition of this successful program, our Indiana plant was named a “Global Water Champion” in 2012. Only two organizations were honored with this award in all of North America that year.

“Toyota’s water monitoring program provides students with real-world, hands-on learning,” said Megan Wright, a sixth-grade science teacher at Helfrich Park STEM Academy. “This lab opportunity allows my students to be part of and help monitor a real problem in the world. It is a great learning experience. This program also is a great way for students to see science in action in the community. It helps them see science beyond textbooks and classroom walls. I would highly recommend this lab to any science teacher.”