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By Linda Bolido

As climate change worsens, it can no longer be business as usual.     

The recent COP-26 (26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties) underscored the urgency of the situation and how efforts to slow global warming and climate change needed all hands on deck, the involvement of governments, businesses, civic groups, even individuals.     

Sustainability – providing for today’s needs while ensuring there is enough left for the future – is no longer just a buzz word but, for a growing number of companies, their slogan and commitment.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP) is among those forward-looking companies that have embraced sustainability almost as soon as alarms went off that human activities were sickening Planet Earth. After all, it is as much a part of this planet and shares the responsibility of keeping it healthy and habitable. Sustainability has become the hallmark of both its manufacturing operations and products. Toyota is fast-tracking its efforts to battle climate change and achieve the sustainability goals it has set for itself. It now aims to achieve carbon neutrality (zero carbon dioxide emissions) by 2035, from previous target of 2050. It also aims to increase its net positive impact through various initiatives such as water optimization, recycling and resource management, biodiversity enhancement. Toyota aims for sustainability and the reduction of its carbon footprint everywhere it operates in the world.

In 2015, it launched the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 (TEC 2050) that encouraged every Toyota affiliate to think and act locally to contribute to the achievement of several targets. Responding to the challenge, TMP ensures that everyone in the entire Toyota Value Chain is not only aware of the Six Challenges under TEC 2050, but is also an active participant in the environmental action and is an agent of change. From sourcing to production, delivery, and actual usage of Toyota vehicles, TMP aims to create a green impact in the cycle.     

TMP’s manufacturing operations now use renewable energy with the installation of a one-megawatt Solar Array. This will be augmented soon by a 0.5MW installation. The company uses energy efficient LED (light emitting diode) lights, as well as natural lighting, and inverter air-conditioning. It also ensures oven efficiency.

Water resource management includes wastewater treatment, rainwater harvesting and recycling of treated water. Similarly, an efficient waste management has been put in place. There is also a campaign within the company for minimization of single-use plastic. To introduce people to its more energy efficient and less polluting products, TMP conducts campus tours to promote its HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) Model Line-up expansion and to generate greater public awareness of the benefits of using vehicles that rely less on dwindling fossil fuels.

The tours also discuss HEV battery recycling. While the outings might seem self-serving, aimed at increasing Toyota car sales, they are also vehicles for explaining the need for these TMP products and to encourage broader participation in climate action. The company knows that battling climate change is not the work of just certain sectors or a few people. Along this line of environment education, TMP hosts sessions at its in-house Biodiversity Learning Center and has established the Toyota Environment Education Theater at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna.

TMP does more than just make and sell cars that are designed to cause less damage to the environment. Its community involvement includes afforestation and biodiversity promotion. Inside its manufacturing complex in Santa Rosa, Laguna is the 11-hectare Toyota Eco Forest, which houses TMP’s plant nursery and eco trail. TMP conducts tree-planting at the Batangas Vehicle Center, adopted forest blocks in Mt. Makiling (Laguna) and Maragondon (Cavite), as well as mangrove area in Lian, Batangas.

Under the All-Toyota Green Wave Project, various stakeholders from the Toyota Network are actively engaged in nationwide mangrove planting and nationwide coastal clean-up activities. In its efforts to continuously improve its environmental action plans, TMP has forged alliances with similarly committed government agencies, organizations and people. It has formal partnerships and collaboration agreements with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, environmental non-government organizations, and local communities. TMP’s effective practices for sustainable resource management – LED lighting, inverter type air-conditioning units, solar roof array, wastewater treatment – do not only apply to the company. They are meant to serve as models for dealers and suppliers to mirror in their own organizations. Suppliers are expected, as well, to use renewable energy in their own production operations and to develop packaging materials that are sustainable. A 100 percent repurchase of materials is also encouraged.

All these efforts at sustainability assure Toyota customers that the product they buy from TMP is made with the utmost concern for the health of the planet. In addition, Filipino consumers have the chance to be pro-active in their concern for the environment by opting for one of Toyota’s HEV vehicles – Corolla Altis HEV and Corolla Cross HEV. The hybrid automobiles not only cut fossil fuel use significantly (these also do not need to be plugged in as these are powered by self-charging electric motor system) but also assure smooth, uninterrupted ride. The Hybrid system intelligently does a seamless switch based on speed, acceleration, and driving conditions.

TMP’s good citizenship initiatives are in pursuit of short-term development goals the international community has set for itself to save Earth from imploding: clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy and responsible consumption and production, among other things. While the transition from traditional manufacturing practices to sustainable methods has not been painless, TMP is now reaping the fruits of its efforts and beginning to realize that sustainability is actually good for business.

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