Toyota’s Sustainability Strategy Behind Electric Vehicles

Credit: Toyota | The bZ4X EV let loose in Scotland, UK
Seeing the Need to Adapt and Manufacture Electric Vehicles, Toyota is Building Sustainability and ESG Into its Entire Corporate Strategy for Automotive

The Toyota name is synonymous with quality, lean production, and hybrid vehicles, as the company was one of the first to build hybrid engines for its cars. An icon of the company is the Prius model, which quickly became a car known for its efficiency—in comparison to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles—and being a cost-effective option. 

To this day you see many of them on the road with thousands of miles on their clocks. 

This is a sign of longevity, which is something automotive manufacturers will strive for as they become more sustainable in the eyes of their customers and their investors. Unfortunately, the business has struggled with this over time—something that was humbly addressed by its former CEO Akio Toyoda

Since he handed over the baton last year, the tone of Toyota’s transformation has changed as Koji Sato, its current CEO, puts his foot on the pedal and influences the shift to all-electric vehicle production. This isn’t to say that the company failed to see the need for change, but was hindered by its leadership. 

This is the Toyota that we see in the news: a company that was a beacon of lean production and now scrambling to get back to its position before the market makes its most significant transition yet. However, there is much more to Toyota’s strategy as it puts sustainability at the heart of its business with a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG). 

The sustainability strategy of Forbes’ top automotive company 

Despite its woes with EV adoption, the company goes beyond its product to shape the business for a sustainable future. Much of its effort is centred around environmental impact: minimising its consumption, conservation of water, reductions in packaging and waste, and improving or protecting biodiversity. 

In 1992, the company established the Toyota Earth Charter, which is a long-term initiative from the business that later formed the basis of its Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050. The company commits to full carbon neutrality across Europe and injects much of its efforts into reducing its water usage and improving the end-of-life prospects of its vehicles. 

Currently, Toyota provides funds to The Nature Conservancy (TNC), which raises awareness of water conservation. As a result of continued support, inclusive of Toyota, the organisation set out to restore the Colorado River Delta

In terms of materials, the company aims to take no more than it gives. To eliminate overconsumption in its supply chain, the business is reducing the amount of packaging materials used and those that are necessary will be circular. In 2021, Toyota reported reusing, recycling or repurposing 93% of its waste. 

When it comes to biodiversity, the car maker is supporting the restoration of land, reporting the development of 1,547 acres of pollinator habitat in conjunction with the Pollinator Partnership. 375 acres of this was of the company’s own land. 

The social implications of sustainable mobility

Shifting back to sustainable mobility to understand how Toyota is driving this forward through its vehicle innovations, its upcoming reveal at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris represents the diversity of solutions it has to offer. 

Showcasing its most modern forms of transport yet, Toyota will reveal two of its electric mobility solutions as a partner of the International Olympic Committee. Not only will the vehicle showcase growth of electrified transport, but also marks a closer consideration for those impacted or impaired by physical health conditions. 

The solutions expected to show at the Olympic and Paralympic Games this year will combine to create an all-in-one solution for those that struggle to move around with ease. 

For more on this, check out the latest update from Toyota

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