Toyota's Environmental Impact Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2468 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Toyota's Environmental Impact

Environmental issues are of cardinal concern today, particularly in the light of the various climatic and other environmental issues facing the world. Global warming has been established as a critical issue that has been engendered by years of pollution and abuse of the environment. This places particular emphasis and responsibility on modern industry and production to curb rates of carbon emissions affecting aspects such as global warming. To this end various major companies have realized that it is essential from both a moral and economic point-of-view to establish feasible polices and to implement strategies to deal with growing environmental issues - for which they are also partly responsible. These actions are not only seen as a lucrative marketing ploy but necessary to establish the particular company as a concerned entity within the global and internationalized business and commercial environment.

Toyota is one of these companies that have implemented strategies and undertaken projects to improve environmental issues and to reduce the impact of their industry on the world pollution and climate change. The company has, according to many commentators, achieved a great deal in this regard.

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In brief, the Toyota Motor Corporation is the largest producer of automobiles in Japan and the world's second largest automotive manufacturer, based on an assessment of production and sales. In 2005, Toyota sold 7.4 million vehicles, and the company has also diversified its operation to include financial services, telecommunications, pre-fabricated housing, and leisure boats.

The company was established in 1937 and was first associated with the manufacture of weaving machinery. This concern provided the financial impetus for the production of the company's first automobiles. The company has fifteen plants in Japan, as well as fifty-one manufacturing companies in over twenty-six countries with a market in over one-hundred more countries.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Toyota's Environmental Impact Assignment

Toyota employees an estimated 285,900 people worldwide and had an operating income of approximately U.S.$16 billion for 2006.

In terms of environmental concerns, Toyota affirms the importance of "...carrying out top-level environmental action at the development and design, production, sales, and disposal stages of a vehicle's life cycle."

The company Website clearly summarizes its unequivocal statement about its aims and intentions with regard to the environment. The statement includes the following pronouncements. "In the preparation for the advent of a recycling-oriented society, Toyota has positioned the environment as a priority management issue and seeks to become a leader of global regeneration through its outstanding environmental technologies.

Importantly, the company places emphasis not only on car emissions but also on a wide range of related issues

In addition to working to reduce environmental impact in all stages from vehicle development to production, use, disposal, and recycling, Toyota actively undertakes environmental activities in all its business areas, including housing, information, biotechnology, and afforestation. Additionally, in order to conduct environmental activities at the highest levels in every country and region, Toyota works with Japanese and overseas affiliates to implement consolidated environmental management and promote environmental management on a global scale.

This is an important statement as it encompasses a variety of different aspects - including aspects such as housing and interaction with other entities to promote a cleaner environment. A further aspect that should be noted is the emphasis as well on recycling.

It is important to keep recycling in mind throughout the entire lifecycles of automobiles. Therefore, Toyota is actively promoting recycling at every stage of a vehicle's lifecycle -- development, production, use, and disposal -- and also feeds the information learned from recycling processes back to the design stage in order to produce easy-to-recycle cars.

In essence, as one of the largest manufacturers of automobiles in the world Toyota "....is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and contributing towards a prosperous 21st century society."

The company has a number of central environmental goals. These include the following cardinal aspects.

Waste reduction and resource conservation - challenging zero waste to landfill per car

Reduction of substances of environmental concern - reducing the release of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and Substances of Concern (SOC) during the manufacturing process

Saving water resources - reducing water consumption across the plants

Global warming prevention - reducing energy usage per car and plant emissions.

Assessment

The above general goals and ideals are laudable but have to be measured and assessed in relation to the actual realities and the success rates of the projects and strategies that the company has iniitiiated or completed.

According to 2005 measurements, Toyota has a carbon footprint of "...1,551,285 metric tonnes CO2e, scope 1 and 2..."

An assessment worth noting is that, " Toyota ranks fourth among the ten assessed corporations for their capabilities for evaluating social and environmental impact scoring 52%."

This goes a long way to affirming the overall target of the company becoming "...a leader of global regeneration through developing and utilizing outstanding environmental technologies" http://www.theclimategroup.org/reducing_emissions/case_study/toyota/"

One of the aspects of Toyota's efforts that have been assessed in a positive light is the fact that the company has a comprehensive environmental management system. The company has developed an Environmental Committee chaired by the president of the company that oversees environmental issues. Training also forms an important component of the overall environment strategy and management process in the company. This training is intended to enable staff to implement the environmental management system and to ensure the dissemination of lessons and best practices on environmental evaluations. This training is also related to the 'Global Vision 2010'. This refers to an objective that will enable the company to become a world leader of global regeneration with the use of environmental technologies; which includes the reduction of the company's carbon footprint.

An essential aspect of the environmental plan that the company has put forward is CO2 reduction by improving on technical development and design. This includes factors such as improved fuel efficiency and the use of hybrid technologies.

Another important facet of this strategy is the improvement of consumer awareness. Advertising and marketing are factors that become important in this respect. The company claims that, "... extensive R&D have allowed Toyota to take a leading role in developing and marketing new technologies and designs that limit the environmental burden of its products. Progress towards Toyota's goals is detailed in the annual

Toyota Environmental and Social Report.

2.1. Communication and advertising

As noted, one of the main concerns is increasing public awareness of the problems of pollution and the way that it adversely affects the environment. To this end, Toyota has embarked on an ambitious campaign in the area of communications and advertising. In 2004, the company began its initial pan-European corporate advertising campaign. The aim of the campaign was to achieve "Zero Emissions." This reflects the aims of reducing emissions "...in all its areas of activity, from design and planning to recycling of end-of-life vehicles.

This campaign has also been extended to include television. A series of advertisements that focused on the theme of "Green Design," were created. The company also added further dimensions to the awareness campaign in the creation of an Environmental Brochure in early 2004. This was designed "... To target the general public and was translated into nine different languages, presenting Toyota's basic environmental messages with a clear focus on the environmental technologies that are beneficial to consumers" the company also makes a point of collating and analyzing customer responses and comments with regard to environmental issues.

The company has also made impressive and laudable advances in terms of promoting the cause of environmental friendliness Toyota has also initiated a new eco-label in the UK. This move is intended to grade cars on their fuel efficiency and is aimed at guiding customers in their purchases. The scheme is a result of a partnership with other organizations, inlcluding fuel industries, governments, academia, environmental NGOs and other stakeholders, the general aim is it create posoitve changes in carbon emissions and in the 'corbon economy'. www.theclimategroup.org/reducing_emissions/low_carbon_solution/energy_efficiency"

2.2 Design and Energy Efficiency

One of the central features of the efforts made by Toyota is in the area of increased energy efficiency - which in turn is directed at reducing pollution levels in the long-term. The main aim of the company is to reduce its CO2 emissions by fifteen percent.

That the company has gone some way to achieving these aims is evidence by the fact that in 2005, a subsidiary of the Toyota Motor Corporation, Canadian Autoparts Toyota Inc. (CAPTIN), was designated a Power Smart Certified customer for its achievements in energy efficiency.

Since 2003, CAPTIN has saved $110,000 in annual costs through proactive energy management including measures such as: retrofitting office and plant lighting; installing of occupancy sensors; connecting HVAC units and the plant's lighting system to an expanded control system, and optimizing the compressed air system.

Furthermore, in an another sign of its intentions, Toyota has signed an agreement with the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) ro reach the target of the reduction of emissions to 140g CO2/km by 2008. As a member of JAMA or the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyota achieved… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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