Toyota Motor Corporation released the most recent environmental report in October 2020. A significant part of it consisted of Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 progress review. Toyota announced this challenge in 2015 in order to establish itself as a green brand. According to it, Simão and Lisboa (2017) highlighted six core priorities in Toyota’s sustainability agenda:
- New vehicle Zero CO2 emissions;
- Life cycle Zero CO2 emissions;
- Plant Zero CO2 emissions;
- Minimization and optimization of water usage;
- Establishing a recycling-based society and systems;
- Establishing a future society in harmony with nature
Since making a public commitment to protecting the environment, Toyota has strictly followed these guidelines, reflected in Environmental Report 2020 and the corporation’s actions.
The Strategy of Electric Vehicles Manufacturing
Toyota puts a strong emphasis on developing electric vehicles to support its sustainability agenda; however, its strategic approach is somewhat cautious and conservative. For instance, Volkswagen has announced an intention to produce 1,5 million fully electric battery-electric vehicles’ (BEVs) by 2025. General Motors has committed to bringing no fewer than 20 electric models on the market by 2023 (Murphy, 2020). At the same time, Toyota sold hybrid vehicles and revealed the plans to introduce 15 fully electric models only a few days ago, on April 19, 2021 (Sugiura, 2021). The reasons behind that strategy may vary, but one can assume that Toyota can either be analyzing a market situation or developing cheaper and more efficient batteries.
Core Areas of Sustainability
Toyota’s environmental sustainability agenda lies within the following triple bottom line (TBL) — environmental concerns, economic progress, and social responsibility. According to the 2020 Environmental Report, the core areas of environmental concerns TBL element are introducing new vehicles with lesser CO2 emission, chemical substance management, air quality management, waste management, logistics packaging, and environmental risks management (Toyota Motor Corporation, 2020). Environmental concerns represent a vital part of the agenda since the Environmental Challenge 2050 was implemented as a part of Toyota’s green marketing strategy.
The actual results of the economic progress element are yet to be seen since Toyota is only at the beginning of its BEV program. However, Toyota has set the goals for sales and plans to cumulatively sell more than 30 million electrified vehicles, reaching annual sales of 5,5 million units in 2030. They have also managed to surpass targeted yearly sales of 1,5 electrified vehicles in 2020 by reaching the 1,92 million sales mark (Toyota Motor Corporation, 2020). Lastly, if Toyota’s cautious approach to BEV introduction pays off, they could also maximize profits from that market segment.
Regarding the social responsibility element of the sustainability agenda, Toyota implements a stakeholder engagement initiative. Toyota builds and maintains communication with the stakeholders according to its CSR Policy. An example of such communication can be seen in the 2019 Bangkok Meeting, where officials of the United Nations Environment Program made suggestions for Toyota’s 2025 Target (Toyota Motor Corporation, 2020). Customers, business partners, employees, shareholders, global society, and local communities — all of these groups are identified as stakeholders.
Toyota’s Public Commitment to Environmental Sustainability
Toyota undertakes public commitments in detailed annual reports or press releases, which set new goals or provide updates of progress in various departments. In the broader sense, the Environmental Challenge 2050 can be seen as a global commitment to environmental sustainability, and the annual reports serve as milestones.
An example can be found in a regional 2020 North American environmental report, which highlights such achievements as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the launch of the new electrified models, and water stewardship efforts (Toyota Motor North America, 2020). These targets are featured in the global Environmental Report and correspond with the 2050 Challenge, which Toyota committed in 2015.
Murphy, P. (2020). Toyota plots late arrival to electric vehicle party. S&P Global. Web.
Simão, L., & Lisboa, A. (2017). Green marketing and green brand – the Toyota case. Procedia Manufacturing, 12(2017), 183–194.
Sugiura, E. (2021). Toyota steps up electric vehicle push with plans for 15 new models. NIKKEI Asia. Web.
Toyota Motor Corporation. (2020). Environmental report 2020. Web.
Toyota Motor North America. (2020). North American environmental report. Web.