Toyota’s Decades-Long Commitment to the Environment

March 8th, 2024 by

Toyota's 2024 lineup of hybrid and electric vehicles at a Toyota dealer.

Environmentalism has become a big topic in recent years. But long before discussions of electric vehicles and carbon footprints became common dining room table discussions, Toyota was thinking and acting sustainably. In fact, Toyota was one of the first companies ever to prioritize a culture of environmental consciousness. Today, any Toyota dealer worth their salt embraces this culture and attempts to improve their environmental impact however they can.

Of course, Toyota’s most significant impact lies outside of the dealerships themselves, with the great efficiency of their vehicles. From recycled parts to low-emission engines and sustainable manufacturing practices, Toyota has seemingly done it all. So, where exactly did it all begin? Well, let’s take a look at Toyota’s history in the green space and what its mission looks like today…

The Dawn of the Green Future

Toyota’s first real foray into the world of sustainability happened in 1963 with the establishment of the Production Environment Committee. This committee was set up primarily to begin researching ways that Toyota could prevent pollution and reduce their manufacturing processes’ environmental impact. This committee was well before its time, leading the way for many other companies to eventually start thinking about their own wasteful practices.

In 1990, Toyota founded a special Recycling Committee. This committee was in charge of identifying areas of opportunity to recycle materials used in the manufacturing process, as well as at the end of a Toyota vehicle’s life. They successfully implemented many procedures and created a culture of sustainable materials management that continues to this day.

Close up of the fuel cell in the 2024 Toyota Mirai.

First Foray Into Hybrid Technology

The advent of the Toyota Prius is noted as a pivotal moment for sustainability. It was the first hybrid vehicle that became widely available to the public, moving alternative fuel tech out of concept and into reality. Toyota launched the Prius in Japan first in 1997 and followed it with a global launch in 2000. The Prius quickly rose to prominence as an eco-friendly mode of reliable transportation that didn’t break the bank. For the first time, regular people could genuinely participate in the sustainability initiative while also saving money at the pump—and today, more than five million Priuses have been sold around the world!

Toyota introduced the precursor of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 in 2002. It was formally codified in 2015 with inclement five-year milestones as well as long-term goals. This challenge outlines six visionary challenges that strive to positively impact the environment and work to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% in all new Toyota vehicles by 2050. This challenge is the first step in Toyota’s broader carbon-neutrality goal, which breaks down like this…

  1. New Vehicle Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge: This first goal, as outlined above, strives to reduce CO2 operating emissions from new vehicles by 90% compared with the 2010 global level. Essentially, to make sure new Toyota vehicles are highly efficient and pollute only a fraction as much as they did a decade ago.
  2. Life Cycle Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge: Next, they want to eliminate CO2 emissions from the entire lifecycle completely. This will involve implementing energy-efficient technologies and leveraging renewable energy sources across the production of Toyota vehicles.
  3. Plant Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge: This goal focuses specifically on making sure plants are going green and eventually eliminating CO2 emissions from their operations entirely.
  4. Challenge of Minimizing and Optimizing Water Usage: Water overconsumption has become a large problem across the world. Many manufacturing processes require huge amounts of water. Reducing water waste helps conserve this essential, finite resource and reduce ecological risks from overuse that can lead to water scarcity for both humans and the flora and fauna.
  5. Challenge of Establishing a Recycling-based Society and Systems: Recycling seems easy, but it’s much more complicated than many people credit it. Toyota is working to ensure that parts used in their vehicles can be easily recycled so that less human-made materials get tossed into landfills. So when a Toyota enters its end-of-life, it leaves as small of a footprint on the Earth as possible.
  6. Challenge of Establishing a Future Society in Harmony with Nature: This goal seeks to extend Toyota’s commitment to the environment outside of the Toyota business itself. Through outreach programs and partnerships, they strive to educate others on the importance of being one with nature.

The Future Is Now

Every year, Toyota takes measurable steps toward its sustainability goals through changes at their plants as well as by tweaking their existing vehicles. Excitingly, Toyota is also putting out exciting new electric vehicles that fit into their “Beyond Zero” brand to eliminate CO2 emissions from their company.

One of the newest entrants into the EV market is the Toyota bZ4X, a fully electric SUV that is on the cutting edge of sustainable transportation and making a big splash in the industry. It represents Toyota’s continued commitment to innovation in the environmentally-conscious space without compromising its legacy of performance and reliability.

The bZ4X first hit the market for model year 2022. It’s characterized by its electric motors, which come with either a single or upgraded dual configuration for additional power. Plenty of horsepower and torque make the new bZ4X fun to drive and maneuverable on city streets and open roads. It has a futuristic design that reflects all the cutting-edge technology that’s housed on the inside—and with a specific eye for aerodynamics, it achieves astonishing range for each charge.

You’ll find all the latest amenities from Toyota in the bZ4X, like a modern infotainment system and connectivity features so you can stay entertained and informed even on the longest road trips. Advanced safety features enabled by radar, cameras, and sensors help keep drivers confident and available AWD provides extra safety for folks concerned about unpredictable terrain. The quiet and smooth ride quality is reported to be some of the best on the market, making the bZ4X an ideal companion for early morning commutes.

A silver 2024 Toyota bZ4X parked at a charging station.

Awards and Accolades

Toyota was one of the first companies to take real, measurable steps to address issues of environmental impact. Even decades later, it’s still a leader in the space and continues to innovate every year, so it’s no wonder that it receives some of the world’s most prestigious awards and accolades.

One of these is the recognition by a global non-profit known as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as an A-lister. Being included signifies that Toyota is a leader in the crusade for businesses globally to take real responsibility for and action to reduce their carbon footprints and address climate change.

Other recognition for Toyota’s efforts has come from the World Green Car Awards, inclusion on the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations list, and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI). With every win and recognition, Toyota is able to spread its mission a little further and inspire its customers and individual Toyota dealers to continue to persevere even in the face of challenging odds.

Committing to the Environment

Toyota has a long and storied legacy of manufacturing reliable and affordable vehicles. Mix in their social commitment, and it’s no wonder that they retain their space as one of the world’s favorite auto brands.

When you buy a Toyota, you’re buying more than an exceptional vehicle: you’re buying into a mindset of innovation and becoming part of a greater future. As a Toyota dealer, we’re honored to get to help in our small way with Toyota’s larger sustainability mission, and we hope you are proud to be a part of it, too!

Posted in Toyota Dealer