The FINANCIAL — TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced that it officially kicked off its sustainable plant activities on May 18 with Japan's largest-ever tree-planting event.
Volunteers—made up of general members of the local community, Toyota City officials, TMC executives, including President Katsuaki Watanabe, and TMC employees and their family members—gathered at TMC's Tsutsumi Plant to give root to approximately 50,000 trees at and around the vehicle production facility.
The event was designed to create a multi-layered natural environment using trees native to the area. Based on a survey of the local natural greenery, 55 types of trees, including "sudajii" (a type of Japanese beech tree) and "arakashi" (a type of Japanese oak), were planted to create a production site that could serve as a lush and diverse habitat for various living creatures. In addition to planting trees, TMC is applying its biotechnology and afforestation know-how through activities such as greening Tsutsumi Plant rooftops with NOx-absorbing vegetation.
Sustainable plant activities at Tsutsumi are not limited to planting trees and other types of greenery—in March, the plant installed a photovoltaic power generation system to reduce its CO2 emissions. The system, which uses natural energy, has a rated output of 2,000kW, making it one of the largest photovoltaic power generation systems in use among automobile plants worldwide. This, together with the active introduction of cogeneration power systems and other energy conservation efforts made so far, is expected to result in annual CO2 emissions 55% less than in the 1990 business year. This is equivalent to the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed annually by a 5,040-hectare tropical rain forest. Additionally, the electricity generated is to not only be used within the plant, but also for lighting surrounding sidewalks.
TMC began its sustainable plant activities—which emphasize the role of nature in creating production sites that are in harmony with their natural surroundings—in Japan in July last year. The activities are being carried out based on the following three objectives: 1) achieving groundbreaking environmental performance by introducing innovative technology and kaizen (improvement) activities, 2) reducing CO2 by using renewable energy, including biomass and natural energy sources, such as solar power and wind power and 3) contributing to the local community and conserving the environment by planting trees at and around plants. Toyota intends to promote such activities at other vehicle and component plants, both in Japan and overseas.
TMC believes that the successful implementation of its sustainable plant activities depends on how well it can cultivate "eco-thinking" among its employees and on how well its plants can coexist with their surrounding communities. At Tsutsumi Plant, an "eco-point program" allows employees to earn rewards by voluntarily planning and holding environment-related events or by taking it upon themselves to come up with and adopt eco-minded practices. At the same time, with a desire to create production facilities that will be embraced by their surrounding communities, TMC intends to continue promoting activities that reflect the opinions of local citizens and that can be carried out jointly with them.