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  4. Raising awareness

Raising Awareness

See how we’re putting environmental issues at the forefront of our thoughts, actions, and plans.

Our journey begins by observing the world around us. Its beauty and splendour, yet also its fragility and current crisis. We then begin to translate our understanding into visionary initiatives that aim to address environmental challenges. Discover some of the actions that are bringing environmental issues to the attention of our employees, our local communities, and the world at large.

Read on to discover some of the ways we’re raising environmental awareness.

What’s so special about June for Toyota?

It's a month in which we ensure that environmental considerations remain second nature to all Toyota employees in everything they do. We call it Green Month and it takes place every year. During this month, we strive to double our environmental efforts. It's not a new initiative; our first Green Month was back in 1973!

Why June?

We chose June in 1973 when we first launched Green Month to coincide with the UN’s World Environment Day (June 5th) and the European Union’s (EU) Green Week (end of May).

What’s involved?

In Green Month we organise events that increase the promotion of our environmental actions both internally and externally. Each June we select a different theme. It could be in line with a theme coming from the EU or an internally inspired topic. Over the years, Green Month has focused on water saving, energy reduction, air quality, the circular economy and biodiversity.

In June 2016 we concentrated on reinforcing the message of our Environmental Challenges 2050. Activities ranged from internal displays that allowed employees to show how their activities are nurturing the environment, to competitions and external presentations. Through Green Month, we ensure that the environment is imprinted in the mindset of employees and that they have the opportunities to convert their concerns into practical projects.

What’s an example of a Green Month initiative?

Beehives were installed in the grounds of Toyota Parts Centre South of France (TPCSF). Bees are vital pollinators of many flowers and crops. For this reason, they are symbolic for the development and maintenance of biodiversity, but at the same time, they flag the fragility of our environment.

A group of volunteers from TPCSF participated in a Green Month project with great enthusiasm. During May 2016 they installed two beehives. A local association of beekeepers (Association Les Papiculteurs) is passing on their valuable knowledge and skills to the Toyota volunteers to ensure the beehives are correctly looked after.

Even the local town hall and neighbours in the surrounding area got involved by avoiding the use of phytosanitary products and delaying their grass cutting so that there would be sufficient wildflowers for the bees to collect nectar from.

Special thanks must be given to members of the association and to the TPCSF volunteers who showed great determination in making the project come to life. Everyone is looking forward to tasting the first honey collection in spring 2017.

Giving the young a voice

To advocate the importance of environmental journalism as an instrument of environmental awareness and change, Toyota sponsors a Young Environmental Journalist of the Year Award in cooperation with the Singapore Environment Council.

Bringing issues to the forefront

In 2015 the winner was Syed Muhammad Abubakar, a freelance journalist from Pakistan. He was selected over several other compelling nominees because of the creativity and flair he showed in writing about various important issues.

The topics Syed addressed included climate change, water storage and the effects of flooding, and the challenges facing the planet’s ecosystem - particularly those concerning Pakistan.

A beacon of hope

Syed Muhammad Abubakar firmly believes in the importance of spreading the message of environmental awareness through fair and accurate journalism: “Although environmental journalism has quite a low priority in Pakistan, I strongly believe that this award will serve as a beacon of hope to promote environmental journalism in the future.”

He continues: “I am heartened to know that Toyota and the Singapore Environment Council give weight to these issues that are too often overlooked in favour of other pressing economic issues.”

Plants (but the Other Kind)

Why invest in plants?

Plants are a crucial part of many lifecycles on our planet. They are essential to providing food and habitats for many species, without which we would see a serious threat to our society as we know it.

What’s involved?

We want to be good guardians of the precious environment that we all inhabit, and we realise the importance of passing on this passion for conservation to future generations. Toyota has teamed up with the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and Kew to promote environmental awareness in children through the Great Plant Hunt.

It strongly focuses on biodiversity and places particular attention on plants and their associated species. It’s part of the global Eco-Schools initiative, which aims to encourage young people to get involved with their environment and actively protect it.

What is Toyota doing in practice?

We are funding the translation and dissemination of classroom materials for primary school children. The materials are then made available to schools throughout the FEE network.

What are the details?

November 2015 marked the start of this programme. Currently, it involves 10 countries, 308 schools, 3,244 teachers and 34,287 students throughout Europe.

The educational aspects of the programme are based on FEE Educational Principles and introduce a variety of practical outdoor activities. These include creating habitat maps, compiling nature notebooks, actively improving habitats, and conducting a “go and see” study called Earthwalk.