Toyota is known globally as a trailblazer in hybrid electric technology having launched the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius, back in 1997. Since then, the global brand has continued to place environmental and social issues at the forefront of their business activities, and Toyota Australia is no different.
In 2019 Toyota Australia celebrated 20 years as the Major Sponsor of Planet Ark's National Tree Day, a long-term partnership unequalled in the Australian automotive industry. As part of their support Toyota mobilises its entire business network of dealers, staff and brand ambassadors each year to support National Tree Day and assists local schools, councils and groups to take an active part in caring for their local environment.
Individual Toyota dealerships often go above and beyond in their support for local community events, providing funding for seedlings and planting equipment as well as merchandise and activities for kids and adults alike. Without this support, National Tree Day would simply not be the well-known and loved event it has become.
But Toyota Australia’s ongoing backing of National Tree Day is just one part of their wider sustainability efforts, with the company also instigating measures to reduce the footprint of their operations and their customers. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been used as key metrics to measure Toyota’s actual and potential ability to either create positive impacts or to mitigate negative impacts, resulting in significant new projects.
One of these is the Toyota Hydrogen Centre, which was unveiled earlier this year at the Toyota Centre of Excellence in Altona in Melbourne’s west. The Hydrogen Centre is Victoria’s first hydrogen production, storage and refuelling facility built to showcase the benefits of hydrogen fuel cell technology for sustainable mobility and energy needs.
The facility is supported by solar energy for its power generation and sustainably produces hydrogen for use in advanced fuel cell electric vehicles such as the Toyota Mirai, which emits no carbon dioxide and requires no battery charging. The Hydrogen Centre also includes and education hub, which provides information on how hydrogen fuel cells work and the potential benefits for sustainable transport and energy.
At the facility’s launch, Toyota Australia President and CEO Matthew Callachor said the Hydrogen Centre would be a crucial factor in the company achieving its sustainability goals.
"Globally, Toyota is committed to achieving zero CO2 emissions from its vehicles and plants under the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 and the commissioning of our hydrogen refuelling facility here today is an important step towards achieving that goal," Mr Callachor said.
"By demonstrating the viability of renewably-produced hydrogen as an automotive and energy fuel through this project, Toyota and its partners in government and business are pioneering a cleaner, more sustainable future that will encourage the further acceptance of this technology.”
Toyota also continues to lead the movement towards low-emission vehicles and environmentally friendly vehicle designs. This includes using raw materials with lower embodied emissions during manufacturing, designing vehicles with fewer parts, making greater use of biomaterials from renewable sources and making vehicles easier to dismantle and recycle.
Finally, the group is also working to reduce the lifecycle impacts of their vehicles through a battery recycling program. Customers are rewarded with a rebate for each battery returned to a Toyota dealership, with about 98% of all hybrid batteries being recovered.
To find out more about Toyota Australia’s sustainability work, check out their 2020 Sustainability Report.