OUTREACH

OUTREACH is a core element of Toyota’s approach to our four main focus areas in North America. We conduct outreach activities related to carbon, water, materials and biodiversity as a way of creating a net positive impact. By collaborating with suppliers, dealers, government agencies, team members and communities, our actions harness the power of partnerships to advance us beyond building better cars. We are building connections that are helping to shape a more sustainable future.

Outreach Highlights Highlights for this Section
  • With 54 and counting, Toyota and Lexus have more dealership facilities certified to LEED® standards in the U.S. and Canada than any other auto manufacturer.
  • Residents from more than 4,100 U.S. cities pledged to save over 1.9 billion gallons of water as part of the annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, sponsored by Toyota.
  • Last year, Toyota sites collected 267,818 pounds of household waste and donations from team members and local residents, equal to the weight of 20 full-size male African elephants.

Here in North America, Toyota has identified four interrelated environmental issues as our core focus areas: carbon, water, materials and biodiversity. This report provides information on our efforts to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive outcomes in each of these areas. 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 toward common objectives.

That’s why outreach is such a crucial component of our environmental sustainability strategy. Through outreach, we can create mechanisms for scaling up the positive outcomes of our environmental programs. We can act locally and make a difference globally.

Our outreach begins with communicating our story in this report, on our website and through social media. We connect with our own team members, consumers, the general public, government agencies and organizations that communicate environmental messages in creative and effective ways. Sharing our story motivates us to continue to advance our environmental commitment.

Next, we engage 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 don’t stop there. The dedication and creativity of Toyota’s team members are 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 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.

SUPPLIERS

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, sharing our knowledge and experience to help them improve their environmental performance.

Our suppliers also bring their know-how to us. In the Waste Minimization section, we describe several projects where we partnered with a supplier to find a way to reduce or recycle our waste. With their help, we reduced waste by 43,000 pounds and recycled 5.1 million pounds.

We also partnered with one of our parts suppliers to help them reduce their waste. Together, we eliminated an entire waste stream and found a use for the sunroof offcuts from Toyota RAV4 headliners. To learn how this material is being recycled, read the story here.

Supplier Target

Develop a new supplier environmental engagement process (achieved)

In the past, our efforts to work with suppliers to reduce environmental impacts were decentralized, making it difficult to share successes internally. That’s all changed. Now that we have consolidated under One Toyota and are coming together at a single headquarters campus in Plano, we have developed a new, consolidated supplier environmental engagement process that will build on the successes of the past and ensure even greater success going forward.

A primary focus of this new engagement process is logistics. Toyota’s logistics network is a complex operation that ensures smooth shipping and delivery of vehicles, parts and accessories, from the supplier to the plant, to Toyota’s distribution centers, and ultimately to dealerships and customers. Through the use of returnable shipping containers, packaging reductions, light weighting and densification, our own logistics operation has reduced waste, fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and we have helped our third-party logistics carriers do the same.

Through fiscal year 2016, we worked with third-party logistics (mainly trucking and rail carriers) to prepare for the launch of our next five-year environmental action plan (EAP). We established methods for tracking and communicating progress, sharing best practices and piloting new technologies. As a result of these efforts, we are establishing a GHG efficiency target that will apply to both owned and third-party logistics, and have begun piloting a new alternative transport technology that will further reduce GHGs from logistics.

Additionally, in the spring of 2016, Toyota became a member of U.S. EPA’s Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP), an innovative partnershipbetween automobile original equipmentmanufacturers, their suppliers and EPA. SP provides aforum for small, mid-sized and large automotive and vehicle suppliers to work together, learn from each other and share environmental best practices.

DEALERS

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 that we share our environmental values and know-how with the dealership population and support their efforts to advance their environmental performance.

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. Operating 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 green buildings have been shown to improve worker health and productivity. See below for information on our target to certify Toyota and Lexus dealerships to LEED® standards.

We also track water and energy utility cost and usage information from all of our dealers, which allows us to identify opportunities for improvement. For example, by analyzing monthly changes in water use, we’ve been able to help dealerships identify water leaks. Dealerships have vast amounts of piping, so finding and repairing these leaks is crucial to their water efficiency efforts.

In California, where historic drought conditions have plagued the state for the past five years, Toyota helped dealers institute a “Wash Can Wait” campaign, which encouraged customers to forego having their vehicle washed after service. Last summer, this program saved more than 8.4 million gallons. Click here for the full story.

Toyota also partners with our dealers to support community environmental initiatives. Learn more about our partnerships with Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds and the Eden Projects.

Dealer Target

Maintain the leadership position in dealership green building and certify 53 dealerships to LEED® standards by 2016 (achieved)

Toyota and Lexus continue to lead the industry with more dealership facilities certified to LEED® standards in both the U.S. and Canada than any other auto manufacturer. As of June 2016, we had assisted 54 Toyota and Lexus dealerships — 49 in the United States and five in Canada — with LEED certification.

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Additionally, several more dealerships have completed construction and are waiting for their LEED 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.

Both our Toyota and Lexus dealer divisions work with dealers on new construction and remodeling projects through programs that encourage sustainable building practices and the use of the LEED rating system. 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 about 25 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.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, 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.

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STAKEHOLDERS

Our stakeholders include customers, team members, communities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, academia and other partners (including other companies and trade associations). We engage with customers through demonstration programs, ride and drive events and through our dealers.

Team members from Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) are members of the Boards of Directors of a number of nonprofit organizations, such as the Wildlife Habitat Council, Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Foundation, National Environmental Education Foundation, Environmental Media Association and U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. Toyota is also a member of the National Council of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an advisory group to WWF’s Board.

Additionally, TMNA participates in a number of annual conferences related to environmental sustainability through sponsorship, exhibiting and/or as speakers or panel members. These conferences are an opportunity to network with current and potential partners in academia, government, trade associations, other companies and nonprofits. They provide a chance for us to share our know-how as well as learn from others. Recent events include:

  • Aspen Ideas Festival
  • Environmental Leader Conference
  • Green Build, U.S. Green Building Council
  • International Consumer Electronics Show
  • Sustainable Brands Conference
  • World Energy Engineering Congress

We have been participating in some of these events for multiple years. For example, we participate in the annual World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC). WEEC is the largest energy conference and technology expo held in the U.S. specifically for business, industrial and institutional energy users. The top experts in all areas of the field convene to share their pathways to energy efficiency, facility optimization and sustainability.

At the 2015 conference during the water/energy nexus session, Frank Canterbury, water specialist with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (TEMA), spoke about the unique wastewater recycling system at Toyota’s assembly plant in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, which recycles 13.3 million gallons of wastewater annually.

In September 2016, Toyota hosted the 39th World Energy Engineering Conference in Washington, D.C. In addition to exhibiting Toyota’s Mirai and Prius Prime, Tom Stricker, vice president of product regulatory affairs for TMNA, delivered a welcome address and the closing keynote, and 14 team members participated in various conference tracks with presentations on a range of topics, including the energy/water nexus, emerging energy trends, renewable energy and the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050.

Government Agencies

We engage and collaborate with state and local government agencies and other companies through state-sponsored environmental programs. For example, our assembly plant in Indiana has been a member of Partners for Pollution Prevention since 2006. This program is organized by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to provide a forum for discussing and sharing pollution prevention (P2) successes and to advise IDEM on P2 policies and programs.

Our assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, has been a Leader in EnHance (Envision Heightened Awareness Nurturing Conservation & Environmental Excellence) since 2014. EnHance is a voluntary environmental stewardship program run by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality that recognizes committed environmental leaders who accomplish goals beyond their legal requirements. Membership is valid for three years; the plant submitted its renewal application in September 2016. Our Mississippi team members actively participate at EnHance events. For example, team members Linda Tucker, Phillip Williams and Mark Hildenbrand shared information about projects that reduced waste, energy and water at the EnHance Annual Meeting in April 2016.

We also partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the ENERGY STAR and WasteWise programs, and with the U.S. Department of Energy through projects with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Team Member Target

Create environmental ambassadors by educating and empowering team members (achieved)

Becoming an environmental ambassador has three elements: 1) becoming educated about our environmental activities, 2) participating in projects that improve our environmental performance and 3) sharing our know-how with others.

We take a variety of approaches to educating our team members about our environmental mission, action plan and activities. We host lunch-and-learns, publish newsletters and include 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.

Team members play a big part in helping us identify projects that save energy, paper and everything in between. Some projects require a small group of dedicated team members, and others succeed thanks to help from our suppliers. A number of these projects are described in the Carbon, Water and Materials sections of this report.

Some projects rely on the commitment of an entire division to succeed. For example, Toyota’s Service Parts andAccessories division held an office paper reduction challenge between Earth Day 2015 and Earth Day 2016. Their goal was to save 88 reams – or 44,000 sheets – of paper. Thanks to the involvement of every team member in the division, they actually saved 273 reams, or 136,500 sheets of paper. This is an example of how we encourage participation and imbed the spirit of continuous improvement in every team member at every level.

Finally, we encourage team members to take all the good things we do at work and share their know-how with others. Earth Day provides an annual opportunity for us to educate and engage team members on environmental topics and empower them to take what they know home and into their communities. Many of our locations host activities for a week or even a whole month that include a chance for team members to give back to their communities.

Ambassadors in our Communities

Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) executives and team members dedicate their lunch time during Earth Week to cleaning up the outdoor area near the organization’s Head Office in Toronto. In 2016, they collected 66 bags of garbage and 132 pounds (60 kilograms) of other items.

In honor of Earth Day, volunteers from Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi (TMMMS) and Hunter Douglas built a bridge at Tombigbee State Park that allowed the park’s nature trail to reopen. Forty Boys & Girls Club members joined volunteers to help clear the nature trail.

During Earth Week 2016, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (TMMI) once again hosted Earth Aware Camp at Camp Carson. Team members shared their knowledge of all things environmental with third-grade students, who spent a day doing activities and games designed to teach them about environmental responsibility. During the recycle relay, student teams raced through the contents of barrels to separate what could be recycled. Wildlife exhibits and a hike through the forest at a local nature center helped deliver the message of preservation.

One of this year’s new activities was a pollinator station. Paul Delor, environmental specialist at TMMI, and Whitney McGrew of the Gibson Soil and Water Conservation District worked together to teach the students facts about pollinators, including how important they are in growing the food we eat. Students paired up different pollinators with different plants or means of spreading pollen through a card matching game, then did a learning craft. Students drew flowers on paper plates, coloring the centers with colored chalk. The students then held a cotton ball to their nose and went around “smelling” the various flowers that were drawn. The chalk (representing pollen) was transferred from flower to flower on the cotton balls, similar to how a pollinator transfers pollen in the wild. Not only did the students enjoy the craft time, the demonstration brought to life what was happening in the fields and flower beds.

Students were sent home with packets of pollinator seeds so that they could plant their own pollinator garden, just like team members did at TMMI. Click here for more information about how Toyota supports pollinators.

Community Target

Support community projects that align with our core focus areas (achieved)

Toyota supports local and national community projects that align with our core focus areas of carbon, water, materials and biodiversity. By concentrating our support on organizations that address challenges in these four areas, we are advancing our environmental commitment beyond minimizing negative impacts and helping to promote positive environmental change across the North American region. We share our know-how and collaborate so that we can build more than great cars. We are building a better tomorrow by harnessing the power of collective action.

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Digital Inclusion

In 2015, Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, donated 478 used computers, monitors and related parts to Digital Inclusion, a computer refurbishment and technical training enterprise that benefits area youth and low income residents. The mission of Digital Inclusion is to lead, educate and train low and moderate income youth and young adults in multiple areas of information technology and, by doing so, create community access to affordable technology, technology support and information technology career pathways.

The donation helped support the opening of Digital Inclusion’s second storefront at Washtenaw Community College. Once refurbished, the computer systems make their way to university students, low income residents and community centers.

For example, some of the computers donated by Toyota are now in a computer lab at Hamilton Crossing, a low income housing complex in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

“Toyota’s donation is impacting an entire community,” said Digital Inclusion Board Chair and President Jack Bidlack. “The computer lab at Hamilton Crossing is a very active place where kids can do their homework and residents can engage in online services. This is a great example of what we’ve been able to accomplish, thanks to partners like Toyota.”

This was Toyota’s second donation to Digital Inclusion. “We recycle our computer equipment with an organization that’s really making a difference in the community,” remarked Cynthia Mahalak, manager of external affairs at TTC. “Toyota is very much a technology company, so helping to bridge the digital divide here really takes our recycling efforts to another level.”

Since 2012, TTC has made three donations to Digital Inclusion totaling 601 used computers, monitors and related parts.

Dream Car Art Contest

The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is an annual contest designed to inspire creativity in youth and help them imagine the future of mobility. From September 2015 through February 2016, youth, ages 4-15, across the U.S. and Canada were invited to create and submit a drawing of their idea of a “Dream Car.”

The first international contest was held in 2004 by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan, with the dual goals of inspiring children to understand the importance of having a dream and encouraging them to become interested in cars by designing the “Dream Cars” of their imagination.

Winners of the worldwide Toyota Dream Car Art Contest are chosen from three age categories (under 8 years old, 8-11 years old and 12-15 years old), and judging is based on three criteria: execution of concept, uniqueness and artistry.

“The Toyota Dream Car Art Contest is designed to inspire children and young teens to imagine the evolution of transportation in a rapidly changing world,” said Mike Groff, president and CEO of Toyota Financial Services and one of the U.S. judges. “What we see in these young artists’ work is more than cars, but solutions to a variety of social, environmental and economic issues these kids see around them. They’re envisioning a world in which enhanced transportation is making the world a better place.”

“In my first year as a judge for the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest, I’m amazed by the artwork of so many young and talented Canadians,” said Larry Hutchinson, president and CEO of Toyota Canada Inc. “A glimpse into the creativity demonstrated in these submissions provides insights into the way youth think about the future of mobility.”

The nine U.S. Winners and nine Canadian Winners were selected by panels of judges. Their artwork advanced to represent the U.S. and Canada as World Contest Semi-Finalists to compete among entrants from over 80 countries. In August 2016, the top 30 World Winners won an all-expenses-paid trip to Toyota City, Japan, to participate in an awards ceremony, which includes a tour of a Toyota manufacturing plant.

ECS Fellowship Winners for Projects in Green Energy Technology

The ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship is a partnership between the Electrochemical Society (ECS) and the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), an advanced research arm of Toyota Motor North America. Now in its second year, the Young Investigator Fellowship aims to encourage young professors and scholars to pursue research in green energy technology that may promote the development of next-generation vehicles capable of utilizing alternative fuels. A diverse applicant pool of more than 100 young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology responded to ECS’s request for proposals.

Today, the automotive industry faces three challenges regarding environmental and energy issues: 1) finding a viable alternative energy source as a replacement for oil, 2) reducing CO2 emissions, and 3) preventing air pollution. Currently, oil remains the main source of automotive fuel; however, further research and development of alternative energies may bring change. “Scientists and engineers seek to unveil what is possible and to exploit that knowledge to provide solutions to the myriad of problems facing our world,” said ECS Executive Director Roque Calvo. “We are proud to have the continued support of Toyota in this never-ending endeavor to uncover new frontiers and face new challenges.”

Electrochemical research has already informed the development and improvement of innovative batteries, electrocatalysts, photovoltaics and fuel cells. Through this fellowship, ECS and TRINA hope to see further innovative and unconventional technologies borne from electrochemical research.

“While the new projects this year focus on traditional applications such as lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells, each project proposes unique solutions to known challenges which may also be instructive in other areas,” said Paul Fanson, Fellowship Chair and manager of Toyota’s North American Research Strategy Office. “That is the beauty of research. You plant seeds and sometimes unexpected things grow, especially when you are fortunate enough to work with a group of energetic and diverse young faculty such as this year’s winners.”

The three selected fellows receive restricted grants of $50,000 to conduct the research outlined in their proposals within one year. They also receive a one-year complimentary ECS membership as well as the opportunity to present and/or publish their research with ECS.

2016-2017 ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellows:

  • Professor Elizabeth Biddinger, City College of New York
    Electrochemical Safety Switch Using Switchable Electrolytes: To examine the use of silylamine reversible ionic liquids that have the ability to have conductivity turned off or on reversibly using carbon dioxide as a trigger for application as a reversible safety switch in high-energy density batteries, and the impact of silylamine chemical structure on electrochemical switching properties.
  • Professor Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Achieving the Ultimate Performance of Fuel Cell Electrocatalysts via Programmable Electronic Control of Surface Reactivity: To explore the reactive modulation of cathodes for the oxygen reduction reaction using a dynamic surface on which complex perturbations are created during operation and evaluated using advanced electroanalytical tools.
  • Professor Joshua Snyder, Drexel University
    Electrocatalytic Interface Engineering to Address Scaling Relations in Multi-Intermediate Electrochemical Reactions: To control the interaction of water with electrocatalytic surfaces through the development of metal/ionic liquid composite interfaces and their role in breaking intermediate scaling relations.

The Eden Projects

With support from the Eden Projects, Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) and Toyota dealers in Quebec, seedlings were distributed during Earth Week 2016 to more than 450 children in select Quebec schools. Each student was responsible for taking care of his or her own tree seedling for one month, then the seedlings were planted to create urban forest in the city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

For each tree planted in Quebec, Toyota has arranged for the Eden Projects to have the same number of trees planted by students at a school in Madagascar. The Eden Projects is a nonprofit that hires local villagers to plant trees in Haiti, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Nepal. More than 90 percent of Madagascar’s original forests have been destroyed, including entire mangrove estuaries. The Eden Projects began planting trees there in 2007 and today, Eden operates five nurseries and has planted 79,730,000 trees. Their work reduces extreme poverty and restores healthy forest ecosystems.

Household Waste & E-Waste Collections

For over 20 years, Toyota has helped team members and surrounding communities recycle and properly dispose of household waste. During designated collection days, many of our sites 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. During events held in October 2015 and May 2016, we collected 267,818 pounds of waste and donations, equal to the weight of 20 full-size male African elephants.

  • Toyota’s assembly plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, hosted a household and electronic waste collection in May 2016 for team members and local residents in partnership with the City of Georgetown, Scott County and Green Metals, Inc. Over a Friday and Saturday, 956 vehicles came to the plant to drop off 153,277 pounds of household hazardous and electronic waste. Since this event began in 1994, the Kentucky plant has collected 927,503 pounds from 5,949 vehicles.
  • Toyota’s assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, collected 97,268 pounds of paint, solvents, waste oils, antifreeze, aerosols, computer equipment, pesticides, fluorescent bulbs and batteries from 1,264 team members and Gibson County residents during an event in October 2015 and another one during Earth Month 2016. Since these events began in 2006, the plant has collected 589,023 pounds of household waste.
  • Toyota’s assembly plants in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario, collected 3,299 kilograms (7,273 pounds) of electronic waste from team members during Earth Month 2016. Since this event began in 2013, the two plants have collected a total of 10,184 kilograms (22,452 pounds) of electronic waste.
  • Toyota’s head office in Toronto, Ontario, collected 3,575 kilograms (7,935 pounds) of household and electronic waste and donations in April 2016. Since collections began in 2007, the head office has collected 45,607 kilograms (100,545 pounds) of household and electronic waste.
  • Toyota’s sales and logistics headquarters in Torrance, California, collected over 10,000 pounds of electronics, donated household goods and secure documents for recycling in partnership with Goodwill Industries.

Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge

Today’s classroom is evolving. The next generation of innovators crave hands-on learning experiences and working alongside professionals who share their passion. Toyota embraces this collaborative spirit and an ongoing commitment to advancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. That’s why Toyota is partnering with Horizon Educational Group to bring the Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge to 20 California schools in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

The Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge is a semester-long, afterschool program focused on alternative fuels and climate change. During the unique, hands-on program, teams of high school students have the opportunity to build their own fuel cell remote control vehicles and learn first-hand about the future of fuel cell technology. The program kicked off in August 2016 with a teacher training event at Toyota’s offices in Torrance, California, and will cross the finish line when student teams race their fuel cells vehicles in March 2017. “The Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge provides an opportunity to introduce the next generation of innovators to fuel cell technology,” said Doug Coleman, Toyota national vehicle marketing manager. “We hope this challenge encourages students to join Toyota in the effort to create a more eco-conscious and sustainable future.”

The customized, interactive STEM curriculum is rooted in the design principles of the Toyota Mirai, including exploring challenges and solutions Mirai engineers experienced during vehicle development, with a focus on renewable energy technology. In addition to support from Toyota fuel cell engineers, the students will be coached by trailblazing Mirai owners and will work with members of a Toyota NASCAR Pit Crew for their final race.

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 that is important to them, develop an action plan to address the issue, implement the plan and report on the results.

Lexus and Scholastic reviewed the finalists’ innovative submissions and selected one middle school team and one high school team as the 2015-2016 Lexus Eco Challenge Grand Prize winners.

The Grand Prize-winning teams each earn $30,000. Each winning team divides the grand prize: a $7,000 grant for the school, a $3,000 grant for the team’s teacher advisor and $20,000 in scholarships for the students to share.

This year’s Grand Prize winners are “The Endocrime Fighters” from Arlington High School in LaGrangeville, New York, and middle school team “Aquaponics” from Christa McAuliffe School in Jersey City, New Jersey.

To combat endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) – chemicals that prevent normal functioning of hormones and cause other negative effects – “The Endocrime Fighters” conducted extensive research and experiments. The team found that the disruptors can be found in everyday personal-care products such as sunscreen and lotion. They took action and produced their own homemade lotion and lip balm. In addition, the team lobbied for EDC-free soap for their school district, requesting it be replaced with a safer alternative. The team also educated their community and took political action by forging important relationships and communicating with people at county, state and national levels to enact change.

“Aquaponics” researched how to prevent algae from reaching a bloom state in their local reservoirs in order to help reduce damage to the ecosystem. Instead of using harmful chemicals, the team explored natural methods and implemented a solution to limit algal bloom. Aquaponics tested various plants in an effort to find the best species to absorb the excess phosphorus and nitrogen that cause algal blooms. The team also designed, built and installed the Maize Chinampa that was placed in their local reservoir to absorb nutrients. They subsequently took it to the next level in building a second and larger chinampa they called “Algae Attack Chinampa.” Aquaponics furthered their community outreach with presentations at six different schools, developing public service announcements and conducting interviews with their local television station.

The 2015-2016 Lexus Eco Challenge had more than 1,535 student participants. Eight teams were selected as First Prize winners and were awarded $15,000 each, and 32 middle and high school teams were selected as finalists for the Lexus Eco Challenge, each claiming a $10,000 prize.

Over the past nine years, the Lexus Eco Challenge has awarded more than $5 million in scholarships. More than 30,000 middle and high school students have impacted their communities, learned about the environment and improved their teamwork skills.

The Lexus Eco Challenge also provides supplemental educational materials, created and distributed by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, to encourage teachers to integrate creative environmental lesson plans 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.

National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation

In 2016, residents in more than 4,100 cities across the United States took part in the fifth annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, presented by Toyota, by pledging to save over 1.9 billion gallons of water over the next year. The annual month-long campaign to promote drought resiliency and water quality ended on April 30 with mayors from 39 states vying to see whose city could be the nation’s most “water wise.”

The cities with the highest percentage of residents making pledges during the campaign included Laguna Beach, California; Andover, Minnesota; Ventura, California; Aurora, Colorado; and Boston, Massachusetts. Overall, residents around the nation, from Anchorage to the Florida Keys, made 404,407 pledges to reduce water waste by more than 1.9 billion gallons — or roughly enough water to fill 2,877 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The challenge, presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S. EPA, National League of Cities, The Toro Company, Earth Friendly Products (ECOS) and Conserva Irrigation, addresses the growing importance of educating consumers about the many ways they can conserve water — for example, by swapping out their lawns in favor of drought-resistant native plants, fixing leaks and looking at how we use water for food and manufacturing. In fact, pledges included more than 500 million gallons of water savings by simply reducing food waste.

“The challenge in general was more successful than ever, but this year rather than simply asking people to save water in a conventional way, we wanted them to focus on how we grow, buy and consume food,” explained Steve Creech, vice president of the Wyland Foundation. “So we brought in horticulturists and irrigation experts to show us how to grow water-wise edible gardens and top chefs to show us how to make the most out of the food we grow, while using the least water and having the least impact on our local water ways.”

Residents from winning cities were entered into a drawing for over $50,000 in prizes, including a Grand Prize Toyota Prius, “Greening Your Cleaning” gift baskets from Earth Friendly Products (ECOS), home irrigation equipment from The Toro Company, EcoFlow Showerheads from Waterpik, Avex water bottles, dimmable LED light bulbs that use 84 percent less energy, and a $1,000 home improvement store shopping spree.

In addition to reducing water, challenge participants in 50 states pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles by 3.7 million bottles and eliminate 87,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, pledges have the potential to reduce landfill waste by 42 million pounds; save 12 million gallons of oil, 6.1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide and 126 million kilowatt-hours of electricity; and lead to $29 million in consumer cost savings.

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the U.S. It is a celebration of the work, play and learning that takes place on public lands every day and offers everyone an opportunity to help maintain these special places. NPLD is hosted by the National Environmental Education Foundation, and Toyota has been the national corporate sponsor since 1999.

The 2015 National Public Lands Day was the largest in the event’s history. What started in 1994 as three events and 700 volunteers has grown to over 2,500 events and more than 175,000 volunteers. Volunteers collected approximately 500 tons of trash, built and maintained 1,500 miles of trail and contributed an estimated $18 million to improving public lands across the country.

In 2015, more than 4,000 Toyota team members volunteered and participated in NPLD events across the country, providing thousands of hours of service to our communities. For example, more than 400 team members from Toyota’s assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, worked with other volunteers to restore cabins, maintain trails, mulch and pick up trash at Tombigbee State Park. Year after year, the Mississippi plant sets the record for the highest number of team member volunteers, helping to make the event at Tombigbee Park the largest in the country.

In 2015, Toyota announced a commitment of $250,000 over five years to Tombigbee State Park to make improvements to the campgrounds, restore the amphitheater, rebuild docks, restore trail access throughout the park, and drain and remove excess sediment from the lake to improve the health of the overall ecosystem. The first phase of restoration projects was completed during the 2015 NPLD event; the second phase was slated for the 2016 event.

Shell Eco-marathon Americas

Toyota Technical Center (TTC) and Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) teamed up to support the Shell Eco-marathon in 2016. Held annually in the Americas, Europe and Asia, the Shell Eco-marathon challenges students to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car. Shell launched this unique competition in Europe in 1985 and brought it to the Americas in 2007. Each year, more than 5,000 students participate in Shell Eco-marathon competitions around the world.

TTC provided a $25,000 sponsorship and Engineer and Technical Mentors for all the teams participating in the Americas competition, held in Detroit in April 2016. TMMTX provided $15,000 to sponsor the Southwest Engineering Team from Southwest High School in San Antonio, Texas. The team of 20 students worked with TMMTX team members, led by Plant Engineering Assistant Manager Julio Mata, to build their entry, a prototype hydrogen fuel cell car.

“I am a product of mentorship!” exclaimed Julio. “I had great mentors in my career and Toyota has provided me the same opportunity to mentor others.” Julio has been volunteering with Southwest High School for the past five years.

The Southwest Engineering Team was one of a record 124 teams from seven countries to compete in Detroit. According to a spokesperson from the Southwest Independent School District, “The Southwest Engineering Team has been able to advance to larger national and international competitions with the support of Toyota.”

At each of the Shell Eco-marathon competitions, students compete in two categories of vehicles. The Prototype category invites students to enter futuristic, streamlined vehicles, while the Urban Concept category focuses on road-worthy, fuel-efficient vehicles aimed at meeting the real-life needs of drivers. Teams power their cars on fuels ranging from hydrogen, compressed natural gas and battery power to traditional gasoline and alternatives such as ethanol.

In addition to the student teams, 20,000 visitors came to Detroit for the energy-efficiency driving challenge. Toyota had a Mirai on display to provide information about the hydrogen-powered vehicle to attendees and their families.

Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds

The Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds (TELG) program is a national initiative that helps Canadian schools create dynamic and sustainable outdoor environments. These spaces provide students with a healthy place to play, learn and develop a genuine respect for nature. TELG is a program that transforms barren Canadian school grounds into natural environments. By planting trees, shrubs and wildflowers, creating meadows, butterfly gardens and other theme areas on school grounds, learning opportunities literally come alive.

TELG was created in 2000 by Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI), its dealerships and Evergreen, a Canadian charity focused on sustainable cities. TELG has distributed more than CAN$3.2 million through 2,370 grants to schools across Canada. TCI has invested a total of CAN$11.5 million in the TELG program. In addition to grants, this investment supports a national network of 16 School Ground Greening & Design Consultants working in partnership with local school boards in cities coast to coast, school ground greening workshops in communities across Canada and a toolbox of teacher training resources to support teaching in the outdoors. Thanks to this impactful partnership:

  • More than 1.1 million elementary and secondary students and 93,000 teachers have directly benefited from a greening project at their school.
  • More than 1,200 workshops have been held to train 43,100 teachers, parents, administrators and community members in the design and implementation of outdoor classrooms and natural learning spaces.
  • Across Canada, 209 Toyota dealerships have been directly involved in one of more school ground greening projects in their communities.

Together, TCI and Evergreen are fostering a new spirit of community involvement and environmental stewardship within the hearts and minds of Canada’s future, our children and youth. TELG has pioneered school ground greening work in Canada, is a leader in North America for its work on school grounds and outdoor learning, and is regularly asked to present and advise on its impact in Canada, the U.S. and internationally. In 2014-2015, 110 schools received funding and engaged 47,720 students and school staff.

Grant in Action: Essex Public School, Toronto

The implementation of full-day kindergarten in Ontario meant that the school grounds at Essex Public School needed additional space for their kindergarteners. In the finished outdoor play and learning environment, more than 100 daycare and kindergarten students benefit daily from the improvements made. They explore their mini forest, tend to their vegetable gardens and observe the bird and pollinator activity in their new flora. Teachers bring their students outdoors to explore, play and get dirty, creating a wealth of new learning opportunities.

Dealership Involvement

The Dealership Matching Program runs concurrently with the Learning Grounds program to provide Toyota dealers with opportunities to engage with their communities. When a dealership is matched with a school receiving a grant through the program, they have an opportunity to represent TELG and experience a moment of connection with their community by presenting the check to the school.

Toyota dealers are making the most of these opportunities. They see the value of the program and, in addition to presenting checks to schools, often invest their own funds and personal volunteer time in support of school projects.

In 2014-2015, 48 dealerships were matched with 60 funded schools. About 85 percent of Toyota dealerships in Canada have participated in the TELG program.

WORLD WATER MONITORING CHALLENGE

Each year during Earth Week, Toyota’s assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, sponsors a poster contest for fifth-grade students in Gibson, Vanderburgh, Posey and Warrick counties. Students are asked to design a poster focusing on why we need clean water and how to protect the earth’s water resources.

“Team members here used to design our own T-shirts,” said Paul Delor, environmental specialist at the plant. “But we decided to do a contest for local kids instead. The kids are very creative and very good at coming up with unique designs.”

The winner of the 2016 Earth Day Poster Contest was Kaden Keverenz from Farmersville Elementary School in Mount Vernon, Indiana. Her design was chosen from over 2,100 student entries representing 103 different classes. All participating classes received a pizza party just for entering the contest – that’s over $6,000 in pizza!

Each year, 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. Each year, over 180,000 visits are made by participants to monitoring sites in more than 50 countries.

In November 2015, Toyota once again worked with about 600 sixth-graders from 27 classes to sample about 100 different lakes, rivers and streams across southwestern Indiana. Monitoring data has been uploaded into the WWMC database. Toyota Indiana has supported World Water Monitoring Challenge activities since 2005 and in that time, has worked with more than 18,000 students.

West Virginia’s Youth Environmental Program

Toyota’s powertrain 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. For the past 17 years, our West Virginia team members have participated in the state’s Youth Environmental Program (YEP), designed to unite existing youth groups and encourage them to actively participate in environmental projects. YEP is run by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Toyota, along with other companies, provides funding for awards handed out at Youth Environmental Day, held each year in May at North Bend State Park. Over $15,000 in cash awards and scholarships were presented to youth groups in 2016 who participated in the state’s Youth Environmental Program and completed community environmental and sustainability projects in conservation, recycling, litter control, forestry, water protection and wildlife management, among others. 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.

Each June, Toyota also sponsors 20 children to attend Junior Conservation Camp. The one-week camp, open to children ages 11 to 14, 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 and recycling.