Tuesday, July 10

The Greening of Toyota

When I got to visit Toyota Motor Sales' 130-acre national campus in June, I (somewhat naively) thought it would be one giant car sales lot, staffed by leering old white men, and furnished with cracked plastic chairs. 

photos courtesy of Toyota

Instead, I was greeted with a state-of-the-art, highly advanced technological and environmentally aware company headquarters.

From the minute we TWIN members were ushered into the building, we were treated with respect, and got to know the spirit of kaizen, a Japanese term meaning, "continuous improvement."

There was kaizen everywhere at Toyota. Many of the people who spoke to us about the business were veteran employees- several of whom have worked for Toyota since before I was born. Each of them were enthusiastic about their job, and about what Toyota is doing today.

One of the things that impressed me the most was a handout highlighting some of the environmentally-efficient aspects of the entire Toyota campus.

  • Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the South Campus provide enough energy to power 500 homes annually. (I don't know what, exactly, photovoltaic means, but that's a lot of power.)
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping saves roughly 5 million gallons of water each year, which is enough to take 200,000 ten-minute showers.
  • In the Information Systems Data Center, 100% of the electronics are recycled. Over a decade, Toyota diverted 3.3 million pound of e-waste away from landfills.
  • Reusable steel containers are used to transport automotive parts at the Parts Distribution Center, instead of cardboard boxes and wood pallets. This innovative program annually reduces wast by approximately 2.7 million pounds. 
  • Even the cafe on campus is eco-friendly: plant based plastics are used for food containers, flatware, and bags to replace petroleum-based products, and leftover cooking grease is converted into biofuel. 
  • The Ionator, a tool that electrically transforms water into a powerful germ-killing and chemical-free cleaning agent, has replaced chemical cleaners. 

These are just a very few ways Toyota is environmentally-conscious. It was a great experience to see such a large company going above and beyond when it comes to eco-business.

To me, they are a great cornerstone for other companies to point to, and be able to say, "let's do that, too."

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with
Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment
in exchange for participating. The bullet points are directly from Toyota material, but all opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota Company.

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