Here in North America, Toyota has identified four interrelated environmental issues as our core areas of focus: carbon, water, materials and biodiversity. This report provides a wealth of information on our efforts to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive outcomes in each of these areas.
- Now in its seventh year, the Toyota TogetherGreen™ program has engaged nearly half a million participants in conservation action in all 50 states.
- Toyota is helping to develop a battery storage system for the Lamar Buffalo Ranch at Yellowstone National Park. Featuring 208 used Camry Hybrid battery packs, the system will provide a sustainable power source for one of the most remote and pristine places in the U.S.
- More than 23,000 folks across the U.S. pledged to save over 1.4 billion gallons of water as part of the annual National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation, supported by Toyota.
- We have assisted 42 Toyota and Lexus dealers with LEED® certification. We have more LEED-certified dealers in the U.S. and Canada than any other auto manufacturer.
But if we really want to make a difference — and we do — we can't act alone. We must engage with our business partners and stakeholders to work towards common objectives.
That's why outreach is such a crucial component of our environmental strategy. Through outreach we can create mechanisms for scaling up the positive outcomes of our environmental programs. We can act locally and create value globally.
We start by communicating. By sharing our story in this report, on our website and through social media, not only will we inspire others, but we will also motivate ourselves to continue to do more. We connect with consumers and the general public, government agencies and organizations that communicate environmental messages in creative and effective ways. Together, we are spreading the word and encouraging a greener, more sustainable future.
The next step is engaging business partners. We work with our network of Toyota and Lexus dealers to encourage green building practices, and with suppliers to reduce waste and consumption of energy and water.
We can't stop there. The dedication and creativity of Toyota's employees is a big part of our success story when it comes to our own environmental performance, but we want them to be ambassadors for us beyond the workplace. We create opportunities for team members and associates to get involved at home and in their communities to educate and promote conservation.
And of course, we reach out to individuals and communities locally, nationally and regionally. Through the power of collaboration, we hope to create lasting positive outcomes on a macro scale that will lead us 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 suppliers to share our knowledge and experience, which helps them improve their environmental performance.
Supplier Target: Develop a new supplier environmental engagement process (on track)
During fiscal year 2014, we updated Toyota's Green Supplier Guidelines to include seven additional chemicals of concern. These guidelines help us communicate with suppliers about Toyota's environmental expectations, especially with regards to chemical management.
Through our membership in the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), Toyota and 13 other automakers have agreed on a set of expectations for suppliers relating to the environment, working conditions, human rights and business ethics. The "Automotive Industry Guiding Principles to Enhance Sustainability Performance in the Supply Chain" contains a set of broad principles. For the environment, the principles are:
Companies are expected to pursue effective environmental protection throughout the supply chain in order to reduce the environmental footprint of our products throughout their life cycle.
All products manufactured within the supply chain, and the applied materials and substances used in the process are expected to meet environmental standards for design, development, distribution, use, disposal or recycling. Such a comprehensive approach includes but is not limited to:
- Reducing energy and water consumption
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Increasing use of renewable energies
- Enhancing appropriate waste management
- Training of employees
Businesses are expected to support a proactive approach to environmental challenges and encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally preferable technologies.
The guidelines apply to first-tier suppliers as well as their subcontractors and suppliers.
AIAG first developed the basis for these guidelines in 2009, in collaboration with Toyota, Ford, GM, Chrysler and Honda. The same year, automotive companies in Europe created a working group to enhance collaboration on supply chain sustainability. CSR Europe has facilitated this working group since 2012. To establish the latest Guiding Principles, AIAG and CSR Europe, together with the 14 automakers, built on the AIAG guidelines and worked to find common points of agreement.
During fiscal year 2015, we will continue to evaluate ways to share opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and energy and water use. We have already shared Toyota's energy treasure hunt process with 180 Tier 1 (direct) suppliers and participated in treasure hunts with 41 suppliers. Between 2008 and 2013, we helped suppliers identify annual energy savings of over 43.5 million kilowatt-hours — equivalent to 15,200 metric tons of CO2 per year. We will build on these efforts to help us develop a future strategy for further addressing environmental impacts from our supply chain.
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 know-how with the dealership population and support their efforts to be environmentally responsible.
We work closely with dealers 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 dealers 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.
While not all dealers choose to pursue LEED certification, they still incorporate green building practices into design and construction. Lexus of Omaha in Nebraska incorporated some innovative features into their new facility, which opened in early 2014. A green roof on the south side of the building provides increased insulation and reduces energy use, and an interior green wall — a vertical garden — helps reduce toxins and provide clean air.
Dealer Target: Maintain the leadership position in dealership green building and certify 53 dealerships to LEED by 2016 (on track)
We have been working on LEED projects with our dealers since 2005, and we are leading the industry with the number of dealerships certified to LEED. So far, we have assisted 42 Toyota and Lexus dealerships — 37 in the United States and 5 in Canada — with LEED certification:
- United States: 33 Toyota and 4 Lexus dealerships
- Canada: 4 Toyota and 1 Lexus dealerships
Toyota and Lexus have more LEED-certified dealers in both the U.S. and Canada than any other auto manufacturer. 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 2.3 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."
VANDERMEER TOYOTA CELEBRATES EARTH WEEK WITH LEED® GOLD
This year's Earth Week was extra special for Vandermeer Toyota. One year after opening a new 22,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility, Vandermeer Toyota became certified as an official Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building.
"Toyota is extremely proud to have its name on the first LEED-certified facility in the community of Cobourg," said Larry Hutchinson, Vice President, Sales, Toyota Canada Inc. "Vandermeer Toyota joins a growing list of Toyota and Lexus dealerships across Canada that have achieved this important designation, demonstrating the ability to meet the most stringent of environmental standards."
Hank Vandermeer, Dealer Principal of Vandermeer Toyota, added: "From the moment we decided to move to a new and larger site, we were committed to making green innovation the essence of the facility. We strove to attain a silver LEED certification and managed to achieve the Gold standard. We are ecstatic to be giving the people of Cobourg a building that puts our community at the leading edge of environmental sustainability."
The dealership, located at 959 Division Street in Cobourg, is the fourth Toyota dealership in Canada to receive the designation. Toyota has the most LEED-certified dealerships of any auto manufacturer in Canada. It was achieved through a wide array of environmentally friendly features, including:
- 28 percent of building materials made of recycled content, and 40 percent of the materials sourced regionally
- 83 percent of construction waste diverted from landfill
- 79 percent savings of internal potable water use and 100 percent externally, partly attributable to introducing native and drought-tolerant plant species
- Sewage conveyance (i.e., toilets and urinals) water savings of 98.5 percent by using a cistern to capture and use rain water
- 93 percent of the construction wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
- Energy cost savings of 4 percent and consumption savings of 42 percent, partially achieved through the use of solar panels and skylights
- Maintaining indoor air quality with a special monitoring system
- Using environmentally preferred refrigerants and low-emitting materials throughout the building, and initiating a green housekeeping program
With 22 employees, Vandermeer Toyota has been serving customers in Cobourg for the past 26 years. The dealership offers LEED tours to anyone who is interested.
Employee Target: Create environmental ambassadors by educating and empowering employees (on track)
We take a variety of approaches to communicating our environmental mission, action plan and activities to team members and associates. We do everything from hosting lunch-and-learns, to publishing newsletters and including an overview of Toyota's North American Environmental Report in new hire training. We want to make sure everyone at every level — not just those with the word "environmental" in their job title — is aware of our environmental activities and understands they have a role to play.
Toyota's North American Environmental Report is the primary avenue for communicating all things environmental. We use it as a reference guide and as a source for stories. Even the process of developing the report provides an opportunity to engage a wide array of job functions at all levels of the company.
For Earth Month, team members at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) created posters for the Cambridge and Woodstock plant entrances using the 2013 North American Environmental Report. These posters highlighted some of Toyota's big accomplishments in Canada, North America and globally.
"These posters are a great way to share our story," said Miye Cox, Environmental Engineering Manager at TMMC. "Seeing these posters gives our team members a sense of accomplishment and pride. It's really motivating when you see your story in print. It makes you want to do more."
TMMC isn't alone in using Earth Day as an opportunity to raise environmental awareness. Many of our facilities celebrate for a full week, while others dedicate an entire month. Earth Week activities at our assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, followed a theme of "energy reduction" in 2014. Educational materials about things that can be done at home to save energy, and the connection between energy use and climate change, were posted around the plant. Team members received LED night lights to take home, which also encouraged sharing the message with families.
EARN POINTS, RAISE AWARENESS
We want Toyota team members and associates to be role models for each other at work, at home and in their communities. So we foster an environment that encourages volunteerism, and we find ways to give back to reward them for their efforts.
Reducing the environmental impact of our products and processes is central to Toyota's culture. Employees at every level look for ways to innovate new and better ways to design and build vehicles using less energy and water and generating less waste and fewer emissions. But our manufacturing company in Ontario — the only manufacturer in Canada to assemble gasoline, hybrid and electric vehicles — goes a step further and encourages its team members to be ambassadors of the environment. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) supports a number of activities that encourage and reward team members for taking the environmental lessons they learn at work, home to their families and friends.
TMMC's efforts to help raise environmental awareness beyond the workplace are a big part of the reason for being named one of Canada's Greenest Employers. This is TMMC's 4th consecutive year on this list. The Canada's Greenest Employers competition is organized by the editors of the Canada's Top 100 Employers project. This special designation recognizes the employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness in their organizations.
TMMC cultivates its ambassadors by making a number of environmental activities eligible for prizes and translating participation into "eco-points." Every eco-point equals a donation of CAN$0.50 to the Toyota Nature Center at Shade's Mills Conservation Area in Cambridge. The nature center provides hands-on programs that teach environmental concepts and foster an appreciation of the natural world. TMMC donated almost CAN$3,000 to Shade's Mill in fiscal year 2014.
So how have team members collected eco-points this year? During Earth Month (April 2014), they took advantage of a number of opportunities to earn points:
- They brought in over 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of electronic waste from their homes to be safely recycled.
- They participated in the Global Earth Hour initiative to reduce their electricity demand for one hour. In the spirit of practicing what you preach, TMMC also participated in Earth Hour by minimizing outdoor lighting requirements.
- Their families participated in a drawing contest that fostered environmental awareness in young children. Each art submission earned the child a free gift of an Earth-shaped ball, and entered them in a drawing for a family visit to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada.
- They made Green Pledges to say how they will help the environment this year. There were hundreds of pledges including ways to reduce a family's carbon footprint and contribute to recycling efforts.
"These are just a few examples of how Toyota team members and associates across North America live our environmental mission of respect for the planet in their everyday lives," said Phil Rodi, Vice President and Environmental Director at TMMC. "They are our ambassadors, bringing our environmental commitment home to their families and friends and showcasing the positive impact that a collaborative community can have."
BIRDHOUSES AREN'T JUST FOR THE BIRDS
TMMC used birdhouse kits to encourage team members to enhance their own backyards and teach younger generations about biodiversity. During Earth Month, TMMC gave out 700 birdhouse kits. The kits come from a local supplier in Peterborough, Ontario, who repurposes waste plywood from a box manufacturing plant to create birdhouse and birdfeeder kits.
By submitting photos of completed birdhouses, families were entered into a drawing to win a family visit to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. Team members could also choose to donate their birdhouses back to TMMC to enhance wildlife areas around the plant.
CHARITY GARDENS BEAR FRUIT
The Giving Gardens at Toyota's Cambridge and Woodstock plants produced another bumper crop. In 2013, 350 kilograms (772 pounds) of fruits and vegetables were harvested and donated to local shelters. The harvest included potatoes, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, Japanese pumpkins, beans, radishes and lettuce.
"The gardens are managed entirely by team member volunteers," said Kathleen Curtin, Administrative Specialist. "Team members learn natural gardening techniques that they can then apply in their gardens at home."
Summer 2013 was also one of the best seasons for the cherry trees along the southern fence of our Cambridge plant. Team members volunteered to pick cherries for a local women's shelter. In addition to enjoying fresh cherries, shelter residents learned how to make preserves. The shelter hopes this kind of skill will help prepare residents for life on their own.
"Our Cambridge plant has been working with the Women's Crisis Services of Kitchener-Waterloo since 2010," said Kathleen. "We provided the shelter with startup funds and helped them start their own vegetable garden. This is our way of sharing our know-how and supporting the great services the shelter provides."
Community Target: Support community projects that align with our core areas of focus (on track)
Now more than ever, consumers expect companies to be active stewards of a healthy environment by both engaging in sustainable business practices and supporting community efforts. To be a good corporate citizen, companies must do everything in their power not just to minimize their environmental impacts and conserve resources, but also to drive that same commitment more broadly throughout their communities.
We want to build more than just great cars. We want to build great places to live. By sharing our principles and practices and through collaborating with community partners, we are driving toward a better world for all.
Over the last year, we mapped our existing environmental partners against our core areas of focus to show the projects we support are extensions of our commitments in carbon, water, materials and biodiversity.
We also started a few new initiatives to fill some gaps. For example, we began building our biodiversity strategy around a theme of protecting pollinators. This led to commitments by four of our manufacturing plants to certify monarch waystation habitats on and around their sites.
Our community projects cover a wide spectrum, from simple trash pickups to building hybrid battery storage systems for the oldest national park in the U.S. Just as we innovate green technology in our vehicles, we have some innovative ways of sharing our know-how with others.
Our hope is that we continue to spur a spirit of collaboration among our team members and associates and with the communities we touch. Our collective actions are all helping to build a better tomorrow.
WILDLIFE RIDES IN STYLE WITH 100 CARS FOR GOOD
When black bear cubs are injured or orphaned, members of Appalachian Bear Rescue pounce. Unfortunately, their unreliable truck sometimes stops them in their tracks.
"Our curator is using an old pickup truck that was once caught in a flood," says group spokeswoman Heather Ripley. "The constant trips to get food for the orphaned cubs and the trips to meet wildlife officials to collect injured cubs are often delayed because of mechanical problems."
But thanks to Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program, the nonprofit will no longer bear this burden. A new Tundra will help give rescued cubs a second chance at a wild life.
The Tennessee bear rescue group, which rehabilitates the cubs for release back to the wild, is one of dozens of nonprofits selected to receive a Tundra, Highlander, Prius, Sienna or Sienna Mobility. The vehicles come with a six-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty from Toyota Financial Services.
The program awarded vehicles to two nonprofits daily for 50 days through November 19, 2013. The public picked the winners by voting for two of five finalists each day at www.100carsforgood.com.
HOUSEHOLD TRASH & RECYCLING COLLECTIONS
We've all been there — the dreaded garage clean-out. The lovely time when you dredge up a 42-pound CRT monitor from 1997, the after-college futon you thought you donated two years ago and some crusted paint cans you (responsibly) did not throw away but never quite made it to the hazardous waste center.
Over the last 20 years, Toyota has helped associates, team members and surrounding communities avoid this drama by hosting collection days for household waste and donation items. We collect electronic waste, appliances, paint and other household items that are difficult to recycle or dispose. At the same time, we also collect items such as clothing and eye glasses that can be donated to those in need.
How much waste didn't land in landfills? Since 1994, Toyota has collected over 1.6 million pounds or 805 short tons. That's equal to 529 Prius vehicles or 132 elephants or 10 space shuttles.
And what became of the more than 1.6 million pounds of materials pulled out of the garage and kept out of the garbage? All reusable items were donated and the rest recycled or, in the case of hazardous waste, disposed of properly.
And saving household chemicals and electronics from the garbage doesn't just recover materials and save landfill space, it also keeps some nasty stuff out of the environment.
That doesn't even count the 5.8 million pounds of paper, plastics, aluminum cans and batteries that our plant in Indiana has collected from team members over the years. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana provides recycling containers in their parking lots, which team members can use to recycle items from home. The money earned from recycling aluminum cans is used to fund activities such as company picnics — their way of rewarding team members for participating in the recycling program.
Toyota Motor Sales headquarters campus in Torrance, California, holds two events annually, for both associates and members of the Torrance community, to collect e-waste and household items. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky holds SuperRecycling Day biannually for team members and local residents to collect household waste items. Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor holds an annual Earth Day event for team members to collect household hazardous and electronic waste and donations for Disabled American Veterans. Toyota Canada's headquarters in Toronto holds an annual associate e-waste and household goods drive.
STUDENTS GET DOLLARS AND SENSE IN LEXUS ECO CHALLENGE
It's a win, win situation! Communities become a better place and students, teachers and schools have the chance to share $500,000 in scholarships and grants through the Lexus Eco Challenge.
The Lexus Eco Challenge is an educational program and contest that inspires and empowers young people to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. High school and middle school teams nationwide define an environmental issue important to them, develop an action plan to address the issue, implement the plan, and report on the results.
In 2014, the $30,000 Grand Prize winners were the Pinelands Eco Scienteers from Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, and the E.T. Electrical Team from Byron Center, Michigan.
The Pinelands Eco Scienteers from Pinelands Regional High School focused on reducing deforestation in third-world countries. They developed a machine that presses locally found combustible materials into briquettes to use as an alternative to cutting trees for cooking fuel.
The winning middle school, Byron Center West, earned money to send water filters to Haiti and the Philippines to help local villages create a more sustainable environment.
For their efforts, the students, teacher advisor and school each get a part of the $30,000 prize. Students share $20,000 in scholarships while their teacher receives a $3,000 grant and the school earns $7,000.
Additionally, eight First Place winning teams received $15,000 each.
More than 1,500 students participated in the 2013-2014 Lexus Eco Challenge. Teams from 32 middle and high schools each received $10,000 for their programs in the Land/Water or Air/Climate challenges. For the final challenge, all 32 finalist teams were asked to reach beyond the local community and inspire environmental action around the world through innovative ideas that are communicated to a wide audience.
Over seven years, the Lexus Eco Challenge has awarded more than $4 million in scholarships. More than 26,000 middle and high school students have positively impacted their communities, learned about the environment, and improved their teamwork skills.
The Lexus Eco Challenge also includes educational materials created and distributed by Scholastic, the global children's media, publishing, and education company, to encourage teachers to integrate creative lesson plans about the environment into their classrooms. For each challenge, the website (www.scholastic.com/lexus) 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.
The Lexus Eco Challenge is part of The Lexus Pursuit of Potential, a philanthropic initiative that generates up to $3 million in donations each year for organizations that help build, shape and improve children's lives.
Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) wrapped up Earth Week in style, venturing into the local community for some heavy-duty spring cleaning.
Changing out of their business attire and into running shoes and gloves, 70 Toyota Canada executives and associates dedicated their lunchtime in TCI's annual "make-over" of the outdoor area near the organization's Head Office. They stuffed a record number of 104 bags full of garbage.
"We take great pride in everything we do at Toyota Canada on a daily basis to make our part of the world a greener place, but it makes an even bigger difference — and it is a lot of fun — to do this with the entire team during Earth Week," said Seiji Ichii, President and CEO of Toyota Canada, who has participated in each cleanup held during his assignment in Canada. "Having such a great turnout demonstrates the great strength of our team's commitment to environmental responsibility."
The executives and associates were divided into five groups. Each was responsible for collecting garbage at a separate location, outside the Head Office building itself and in nearby ravines.
Going one step further, associates separated out recyclables, keeping a significant portion of what was collected from ending up in a landfill.
PLANTING MONARCH WAYSTATIONS
Millions of monarch butterflies fly south every winter from Canada through the United States all the way to Mexico. Along the way, butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Monarch larvae eat the leaves as their first meal and use the plant for shelter as they grow.
They also pollinate. But monarch numbers have been declining over the past several years. To help reverse this trend, several Toyota locations, including plants in Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Indiana, committed during National Pollinator Week (June 16-22, 2014) to certifying Monarch Waystation Habitats. Waystation habitats are places that provide the necessary resources for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. These waystations provide milkweed for larvae and energy sources from wildflower nectar for adult butterflies.
Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, has two waystations onsite, one at the Childcare Development Center and another along the Environmental Education Center | Nature Trail. Team members are also taking their pledge to protect pollinators out into the community. The plant is supporting four monarch waystation habitats at Liberty, Breckenridge and Yates Elementary Schools in Lexington and at the Yuko-en Park in Georgetown. Toyota provided the seed packets and signage for each site to show it has been registered with MonarchWatch.org. Toyota also provided the Child Development Center with books and posters during Kentucky's Pollinator Week in June.
We expect to see monarchs at these stations in the fall, and plan to provide an update to our efforts in next year's report.
NATIONAL MAYOR'S CHALLENGE FOR WATER CONSERVATION
Companies can be active stewards of a healthy environment by supporting community efforts. That's why Toyota partners with the Wyland Foundation in support of the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation. Mayors across the country once again asked residents to make a commitment to conserve water and cut pollution by taking part in a national contest aimed at drastically slashing water and energy use across the nation. The campaign is also supported by the U.S EPA's Office of Water, National League of Cities, U.S. Forest Service, The Toro Company, WonderGrove Kids.com, Bytelaunch.com, and WaterSmart Software.
In 2014, kids got in on the act. As part of a commitment to fostering a community approach to conservation, the Wyland Foundation created a companion website (www.mywaterpledge.com/students) and a series of animated public service announcements to encourage teachers and students to work together to help their cities win the popular annual challenge. Just as residents make a series of informative, easy-to-use online pledges on behalf of their cities to reduce water and energy usage, teachers were encouraged to enter on behalf of their classes. Participating classrooms were entered into drawings for $500 in classroom supplies.
"Whether it's drought conditions in the West or the high costs of energy related to water use in the East, saving water has become one of the most talked about issues facing the nation today," said Wyland, artist and president of the Wyland Foundation. "But it's vital that we recognize that children will be the future decision makers of how we use this resource."
During the month of April, more than 100 U.S mayors participated in the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation and encouraged their residents to make pledges online to reduce water and energy usage. Overall, residents from 3,600 cities in 50 states took part.
The top cities in five population categories with the highest percentage of residents participating were named winners of the challenge. The cities of Dallas, Texas; Corpus Christi, Texas; Huntington Beach, California; Bremerton, Washington; and Crete, Nebraska, led an effort among over 23,000 people who pledged to take 277,742 specific actions over the next year to change the way they use water in their homes, yards and communities.
Residents from the five cities were eligible for drawings for over $50,000 in eco-friendly prizes, including a Grand Prize Toyota Prius Plug-In. Water utilities of the winning cities also received a software application from WaterSmart Software to help reduce water use by five percent over the next year.
"Access to a clean and reliable supply of fresh water is fundamental to our lives," said artist and conservationist Wyland. "Most people do not think about their water footprint and the extent to which water quality issues can impact them personally."
By sticking to their commitments, the collective efforts of these residents will:
- Reduce national water waste by 1.4 billion gallons;
- Reduce waste sent to landfills by 36 million pounds;
- Eliminate more than 179,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds;
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.4 million metric tons; and
- Save $52 million.
The challenge comes at a time when population growth, extreme weather patterns, water shortages, and poor infrastructure threaten access to a steady, sustainable supply of water in the United States. The National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation provides a positive way to reward residents across the country for using water wisely and controlling what goes down the drain and into their local watershed.
"Since 2000, Toyota has cut back on water consumption in our manufacturing process by 23 percent," said Michael Rouse, Vice President of Diversity, Philanthropy and Community Affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, USA. "We are proud to support the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation to engage communities in efforts to reduce water consumption and protect this valuable resource."
ALL HANDS ON DECK FOR NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
Toyota first signed on as the national corporate sponsor of National Public Lands Day (NPLD) in 1999. But there's plenty of evidence to suggest the company's support for the event is even stronger today than it was 15 years ago. Consider these numbers:
- $3 million—the amount Toyota contributed to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the group that organizes NPLD. The funds help underwrite NEEF's "Every Day Grants" program that supports groups caring for public lands on the local level.
- 3,424—the number of Toyota associates who volunteered to help out in 2013.
- 36—the number of NPLD sites supported by Toyota associates and team members.
- 50—The number of middle and high school students selected by the Greening Youth Foundation that, in partnership with Toyota and REI, hosted an Urban Youth Campout the night before the NPLD event in Atlanta.
Without a doubt, Toyota's commitment—both in terms of time and money—is impressive. NPLD's overall impact, however, is even greater. Consider these 2013 stats:
- 180,000—the number of volunteers nationwide.
- 2,150—the total number of NPLD sites.
- 180,000—an estimate of the number of native plants, shrubs and trees planted by volunteers.
- $18 million—the estimated value of improvements made on federal, state and local public lands.
- 20 million—the number of acres under NEEF's stewardship.
- 20—the number of years NEEF has hosted NPLD.
According to NEEF President Diane Wood, Toyota's $3 million contribution helps make many of these efforts possible.
"Many local groups lack the necessary resources to be as effective as they possibly can," said Wood. "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 local communities."
Want to lend your hand to this cause? Check out www.PublicLandsDay.org for more information.
Blazing Star Certificate of Recognition
Since 2000, Bodine Aluminum, Inc. in Troy, Missouri, has provided hundreds of volunteers and thousands of dollars to Cuivre River State Park for National Public Lands Day. Their efforts have been primarily directed toward natural resource management activities with some trail work. Projects during the past 14 years have included thinning trees in savanna and woodland restorations, removal of slash, restoring two small glades, collecting native prairie seeds, and adding native seeds to roadside planting. Trail work activities have helped address problems of erosion and trampling of adjacent vegetation. To assist the park with these projects, Bodine has supplied equipment like chain saws and backpack sprayers that have been crucial to many resource management projects.
By generously supporting National Public Lands Day projects in Cuivre River State Park for the past 14 years, Bodine has greatly aided the park efforts to protect, restore and reconstruct native flora and natural communities in one of Missouri's premier natural resource parks. In 2014, Bodine was recognized for these efforts by the Missouri Native Plant Society with a Blazing Star Certificate.
TOYOTA SUPPORTS NEXUS ENERGY'S ALABAMAWISE PROGRAM
Alabama residents may end up with more cash in their pockets, thanks to support from Toyota. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama recently donated $25,000 to Nexus Energy's AlabamaWISE, a community energy program that empowers families to take control of their energy costs. Through resources such as home improvement advice, contractor referrals and affordable loans, AlabamaWISE helps residents lower their monthly utility bills while raising energy savings. The average homeowner sees a 20-30 percent savings in energy costs after participating in AlabamaWISE.
Toyota Alabama is one of two model plants for environmental sustainability in North America. Programs to improve environmental performance, implement innovative technologies and strengthen community partnerships are part of day-to-day operations at the plant. The donation to Nexus Energy was part of a milestone celebration for Toyota Alabama — expansion of the all-new V6 engine line and reveal of the plant's three millionth engine produced.
RESTORING THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS
The Northern Great Plains spans more than 180 million acres and crosses five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. As large as California and Nevada combined, this short- and mixed-grass prairie is one of only four remaining intact temperate grasslands in the world.
Grasslands play an important role filtering the water we drink, reducing soil erosion and flooding, providing pollination services, and acting as a buffer against climate change. According to research from the U.S. Geological Survey, $29 billion per year in pollination services are produced in the Northern Great Plains alone.
But in the Mississippi River basin alone, over one million hectares (2.8 million acres) of grasslands are lost annually. Demand for agricultural commodities and new drought-resistant bioengineered crops encourage the degradation of native grasslands and drain waterways and watersheds. Development, roads and fences, habitat clearing and invasive plant species are causing habitat fragmentation. Rates of grassland conversion to corn and soy are "comparable to deforestation rates in Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia" (Wright et al., PNAS 2013).
But WWF is working to change that with the help of a number of partners and supporters, including Toyota. WWF's Northern Great Plains program includes working with ranchers and Native American Tribes to return bison to their ancestral homeland, establishing the first tribal national park, and creating sustainable ranching initiatives.
The program has already seen some impressive results. New herds of bison — totaling nearly 800 animals and growing — have been established at Grasslands National Park (Saskatchewan), Fort Belknap and Fort Peck Reservations, and American Prairie Reserve, and the black-footed ferret has been reintroduced throughout its historic range of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.
Kevin Butt, Director of Toyota North American Environmental, sits on WWF's Board and on the Northern Great Plains Advisory Committee. "At Toyota, our commitment to the environment is not just about our pioneering work with fuel-efficient vehicles. It's also reflected in our longstanding efforts to inspire people to join the conservation movement," said Kevin. "That's why Toyota is proud to support WWF's Northern Great Plains program."
"The Northern Great Plains is one of the greatest conservation opportunities in North America today, the success of which will depend on engaging with the people who live and work on the landscape including tribes, ranchers and government managers. WWF is proud to work in this iconic place in partnership with Toyota and others," Martha Kauffman, Managing Director, WWF Northern Great Plains program.
TOYOTA-BLUE SPRINGS WATER GARDEN & EDUCATION PARK
A pavilion, a play structure and a community garden are just some of the features included in the plans for the Toyota-Blue Springs Water Garden and Education Park. Sean Suggs, Vice President of Administration for Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, and Rita Gentry, Mayor of Blue Springs, unveiled the park design in July 2014 at a ceremony in downtown Blue Springs.
"We thank the community of Blue Springs for the warm welcome shown to our team members and are pleased to give the town something in return," remarked Mr. Suggs. He added that the park would have something for all ages.
Material and labor donated for park construction are valued at approximately $100,000.
Toyota Mississippi financed the park, which was built by Toyota team members and members of the Blue Springs community. Local suppliers B&B Concrete Co., Inc. and MMC Materials donated concrete for the pavilion area and for a sidewalk encircling the park to provide a walking path for patrons.
"We are honored that Toyota asked us to partner with them on such a meaningful initiative," said Mark Jarrett, Sales Manager at B&B Concrete Co. "We are happy to support a project that will have a tremendous impact on the town of Blue Springs and improve residents' overall quality of life."
The all-new community park showcases two features supporting Toyota's sustainability and conservation education philosophy:
- Compost bins and a water cistern were built by team members to ensure reuse of water and waste resources.
- A garden of wild flowers was planted by children to support the natural migration path of the monarch butterfly. Information about the life cycle, gardening instructions and migration of the species is explained to help support a greater understanding and appreciation of the challenge of monarch conservation.
"We could not have asked for a better corporate and community partner and we are thrilled to work with Toyota on this project," stated Mayor Gentry. "This park will serve as a symbol of the wonderful relationship we share with Toyota and will be a safe community space that all our residents can enjoy. We have a bright future together."
Park construction was completed September 20, 2014, as part of Toyota's National Public Lands Day volunteer event.
Between 200 and 800 Toyota Mississippi volunteers participate in National Public Lands Day annually, the highest number of volunteers from any Toyota plant in the country.
Suggs added, "I am privileged to work alongside our team members who share Toyota's commitment to our planet and to the communities where they live, work and serve."
Toyota Mississippi is committed to not only building the best cars in the world, but also to building better communities. Chosen by Toyota Motor Corporation in 2008 to be a model sustainable plant, Toyota Mississippi focuses on four key environmental areas: performance, biodiversity, renewable energy and education.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi in Blue Springs produces the Toyota Corolla and employs 2,000 team members. The plant represents an investment of over $870 million and has the annual capacity to produce 170,000 Corollas. To date, Toyota Mississippi has contributed over $1. 5 million and over 10,000 volunteer hours to local community organizations.
TOYOTA GATHERS STEAM IN SINGAPORE
For the second year, Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) staff members have been invited to join the Toyota Education Initiatives in STEAM Innovation (Toyota STEAM) program. This year, Superintendent Dr. Jeanice K. Swift made the trip along with 20 other AAPS staff representing many from the district's instructional and administrative levels.
Fully funded by Toyota and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), this professional development program for U.S. secondary school educators is designed to support efforts to prepare and inspire an increased number of U.S. students to study and pursue careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) fields.
Over the past 15 years, Toyota and IIE have conducted 21 international short-study programs in Japan, the Galápagos Islands, Costa Rica, South Africa and Singapore through the Toyota International Teacher Program. Over 700 alumni, including the first cohort from Ann Arbor Public Schools, make up a network across the U.S. representing some of the nation's top educators.
The new Toyota Education Initiatives in STEAM Innovation program aims to have a larger impact on an entire school district. AAPS staff learned about Singapore's STEM educational practices, which are known for their global achievements in the areas of science and mathematics.
During the summer of 2013, 10 AAPS staff members traveled to Singapore as part of the first year pilot. They collaborated with Toyota and IIE to develop this year's work-study program in partnership with the Academy of Singapore Teachers, Singapore Ministry of Education. The AAPS Development Team in partnership with the 2014 STEAM Cohort is working with AAPS staff and students during the 2014-15 school year to develop innovative integration of STEAM lessons, units and projects for AAPS students.
Students Build a Solar Heater for their Classroom
Jason Shields teaches math and engineering at Kings High School in South Lebanon, Ohio. His students have worked on a number of innovative projects at the school, all sparked by Jason's participation in the Toyota International Teacher Program (TITP, now known as the Toyota STEAM program).
Jason traveled on a TITP-sponsored trip to Costa Rica in 2009, then again in 2011 as a discussion leader. As part of the program, he developed sustainability lessons and created an action plan to bring back to his classroom.
"Both of my trips to Costa Rica offered a true paradigm shift that led to the development of new lessons and projects for my school and community," Shields said. He has made it his goal to help produce the next generation of green engineers and inventors by placing his students at the forefront of green technologies and sustainable engineering.
His students' latest project is a solar heater they designed and built for his classroom.
"The students used Solid Edge, software developed and donated by Siemens, to design their original ideas, and we worked with experts at Siemens to help us run a finite element analysis of our designs," said Jason. "This helped us troubleshoot and analyze air flow and distribution."
The solar heater is about seven feet tall and three feet wide. It runs on two 10-volt solar photovoltaic panels that are angled to maximize sun exposure at the school's latitude and longitude.
After constructing multiple prototypes, the students finally developed a product that actually heats Shields' room. On a sunny 10 degree Fahrenheit day, the solar heater will deliver enough warm air to heat his large classroom to 70 degrees.
"One of the things we are most proud of is our unique diffusor system for the air at the bottom of the solar heater. This is a huge improvement over our original prototypes and is a strong improvement over anything we were able to find on the internet."
The project was part of Jason's high school Dual Enrollment University of Cincinnati Engineering class. This is one of the classes in a program that offers college credit for students still in high school, which ultimately allows students to earn their engineering master's degree within four years after high school.
"The Toyota International Teacher Program has had a huge impact on my teaching," said Jason. "No other professional development program has revolutionized my teaching more than the experiences I had in Costa Rica."
Audubon and Toyota TogetherGreen are changing the face of conservation in America by tackling tough problems with creativity, innovation and a diverse array of perspectives. From religious groups to inner-city students to low-income communities, Americans from all walks of life have gotten involved in this movement.
The National Audubon Society and Toyota created the Toyota TogetherGreen initiative in 2008 through a $20 million grant — the largest donation in Audubon's 104-year history. With this support, Audubon has expanded the scope and reach of its conservation action nationwide. Audubon and Toyota TogetherGreen have trained more than 495 conservation leaders, improved over 33,000 acres of habitat, conserved over 15.6 million gallons of water, and captured $11.1 million worth of volunteer time in 299 cities across all 50 states.
In hundreds of communities, the program helps tens of thousands of people take conservation action, including a congregation in Chicago's South Side that hosts organic farmers markets for residents with little access to healthy food, veterans who are healing war wounds through ecological restoration, and prisons that help restore habitat for the threatened Silverspot Butterfly in Oregon.
So far, Audubon has awarded 260 Toyota TogetherGreen fellowships to promising and proven individuals to help them advance their environmental work and leadership skills. Each fellowship has included a $10,000 grant to develop and execute a community conservation action project, professional development opportunities, and access to numerous networks and events. All fellows have been required to conduct a 12-month community-based action project to achieve measurable outcomes that address conservation goals.
Innovation grants have been awarded to 260 cutting-edge conservation projects that involve communities traditionally under-represented in the conservation movement, with a focus on habitat, water and energy preservation. All grantees have been required to build strategic organizational partnerships to help generate impact and long-term results.
A Look Back: 2008 TogetherGreen Fellow Marian Langan
Marian Langan grew up in rural Nebraska and deeply appreciates the natural and human history of her home state. As the Director of the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center outside Lincoln, she led her organization with an understanding and appreciation of the values of the communities in the rural Great Plains. And during her 15 years of experience in conservation, public outreach, environmental education and prairie habitat management, that connection to the people she served paid off in the form of numerous awards, including Professional of the Year from the Nebraska Wildlife Society and Educator of the Year from the Nebraska Safari Club.
As part of the Toyota TogetherGreen Conservation Fellowship she received in 2008, Marian worked with faith-based groups. These groups wield a strong influence in the Nebraskan communities where Marian lives and works, just as they do in communities around the country.
Yet, Marian felt, the great strength in the overlap between conservationists' goals for a healthy planet and the goals of many people of faith for a healthy, just humanity, had not been fully explored. So Marian built relationships with leaders in the faith community around Spring Creek Audubon Center, learned more about the work being done worldwide on the intersection between religion, environment and culture, and learned how to interest more people of faith in stewarding our planet — in particular, native tallgrass prairies.
What does it really mean to steward the earth, for a conservationist or a person of faith? To Marian, the answer depends on people stepping out of their comfort zones and building relationships with a wide diversity of partners.
"Stepping out of comfort zones takes some risk — both personally and professionally," said Marian. "The TogetherGreen Fellowship created the space for us to take those risks. It allowed us to do that in a myriad of ways — from being challenged by emerging leaders and colleagues from all over the country, to building relationships with new partners in our own community. The events Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center hosted with leaders in the local faith community allowed us all to think about and approach our efforts from a much broader perspective. We were all able to walk in each other's shoes just a little bit, and find out how much we had in common."
Marian added, "I am grateful to have had the opportunity of the fellowship, as the ability to find shared interests within a wide variety of partners and perspectives has impacted every aspect of my work since that experience."
Marian was promoted to Executive Director of Audubon Nebraska in 2011. The skills she developed during her fellowship have strengthened her ability to work with others and achieve positive results. Through her, we see the lasting value of the Toyota TogetherGreen fellowship program.
Teens Grow Up Green in the White River Glades and Woodlands
In 2009, 16 high school students from rural communities attended the first Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) camp. Thanks to an Innovation Grant from Toyota TogetherGreen, plus support from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks Rural Schools Project and in-kind donations of supplies and services from Missouri State University, Greater Ozarks Audubon, and the Missouri Department of Conservation, the week-long residential ecology camp was free of charge to students.
Now in its sixth year, GLADE continues to blend leadership training, habitat restoration and ecology-based curriculum into an innovative model of conservation education, environmental stewardship and community building.
During the course of the academy, team-building challenges are invaluable in teaching leadership styles and the dynamics of group interaction, and in reinforcing individual strengths. However, these simulated activities cannot compare with the personal growth and development that occurs when the GLADE team actively engages in an authentic conservation challenge head on. For this reason, GLADE youth take on the real-world work of restoring vital habitat for species of special concern in the White River Glades and Woodlands Important Bird Area. During GLADE programs, participants cut down red cedars and remove invasive species in order to facilitate the growth of native glade species.
The ecological results of the participants' work may not be immediately apparent, but investing in tomorrow's conservation leaders has an immediate human benefit: Conservation service is firmly implanted in the lives of the young naturalists. The habitat restoration experience connects them to supportive peers and channels their energy into action within the expanding GLADE network.
GLADE's participants continue to contribute after their participation in the program ends. Post-GLADE grants awarded to graduates by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks turn the youth conservationists into community leaders, and their dreams into realities as outdoor learning centers, native plant gardens, bluebird trails, recycling programs, low-impact developments, waterway cleanups and other environmental projects spring up across the Ozarks landscape.
"If you are looking for a way to help the environment, future generations and teenagers today, look no further than GLADE," says Paul, 16, a volunteer for the U.S. National Park Service. "GLADE guides teenage conservationists through a series of activities designed to help them grow together and learn valuable environmental and scientific skills. It produces people with a keen love for the environment and the skills to do something about it."
"Everybody there has a similar passion, which is nature" says Emily, a 15-year-old birder and current GOAS Board member. "It is truly a life-changing camp and if you are looking for a way to help make a change in our natural community, this is it!"
WORLD WATER MONITORING CHALLENGE
Each year during Earth Week, Toyota's Indiana plant sponsors a poster contest for fifth-grade students in Gibson, Vanderburgh, Posey, and Warrick counties. The winning design is put on a T-shirt given to all sixth-grade students who participate in the World Water Monitoring Challenge™ in the fall.
World Water Monitoring Challenge (WWMC) 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. Last year, over 250,000 visits were made by participants to sites in 66 countries.
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, 66 schools — a 20 percent increase over last year — participated in the contest and submitted over 2,000 designs.
"Toyota Indiana has supported the World Water Monitoring Challenge activities since 2005," said Kelly Dillon, Manager of External Affairs at Toyota. "Our goal is to continue to share the importance of water quality with our students, and we hope to do that by expanding the program to more counties in the future."
In November, Toyota once again worked with sixth-grade students to sample about 100 different lakes, rivers and streams across southwestern Indiana. Monitoring data is uploaded into the WWMC database.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Toyota's image for a low carbon future extends beyond our facilities to some pretty remote places. We are developing a battery storage system to power the Lamar Buffalo Ranch field campus in Yellowstone National Park. The batteries will store clean power generated by solar arrays and a micro-hydro turbine, creating a sustainable, off-the-grid power source for one of the most remote and pristine places in the U.S.
When installed, the stationary distributed energy system will feature 208 used Camry Hybrid nickel-metal hydride battery packs and a total storage capacity of 85 kWh, more than enough to power the five buildings on the Ranch field campus. It's a new lease on life for the batteries and a new, zero emission energy option for the Ranch.
This type of reuse is expected to double the overall life span of the hybrid batteries. It's important to note that if a used hybrid battery pack is not suitable for reuse, Toyota's established hybrid battery recycling program is followed.
Toyota dealers in Japan have been tapping into used hybrid battery packs for stationary power storage since 2013. Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Alabama will soon be testing a similar project to help power their operations and provide back-up power during emergencies. We will have more on this story next year.
SPONSORING WEST VIRGINIA'S YOUTH ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM
Toyota's plant in West Virginia — where we make 4- and 6-cylinder engines and 6-speed automatic transmissions — believes in teaching children about the environment and getting them outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature. After all, children are our future — our future team members, engineers and environmental specialists. So each June, Toyota sponsors 20 children to attend the state Department of Environmental Protection's Junior Conservation Camp.The one-week camp, open to children ages 11 to 14, is part of the state's Youth Environmental Program. The camp offers a wide variety of classes to teach pre-teens about the environment and encourage them to become good stewards of our natural resources. Classes cover a range of topics such as forestry, wildlife, water study and recycling.
Toyota, along with other companies, also provides funding for awards handed out at the annual Youth Environmental Day at North Bend State Park. Over $11,000 in cash awards and scholarships are presented to youth groups who participate in the state's Youth Environmental Program, in recognition of their outstanding environmental accomplishments.
In 2014, Toyota sponsored awards for youth groups involved in community environmental projects including litter cleanups, recycling drives, school landscaping projects, tree planting, wildlife management, watershed protection and much more. Students worked on these projects all year long. Congratulations to all of the students who are working hard to make our world a better place.
This is Toyota's 15th year participating in the state's Youth Environmental Program. "The Youth Environmental Program and Junior Conservation Camp have been recipients of Toyota's generosity for many years through award and scholarship contributions" said Diana Haid, Environmental Resources Specialist for the Youth Environmental Program at West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection. "Being able to ‘pay it forward,' so to speak, by recognizing hundreds of West Virginia's children for their efforts to keep their communities clean and beautiful as well as being able to give hundreds of other children the chance for a positive camping experience full of fun and environmental learning is the true reward. I am sincerely grateful to Toyota for that opportunity."