Toyota's low-emissions gasoline/electric hybrid Prius is a high-profile example of the company's commitment to the environment. A new North American Environmental Report details the breadth and depth that commitment, according to Toyota. "Through design and development, manufacturing, sales/use, and end of life/recycling efforts, Toyota is striving to make a positive impact on the environment," the company said in the report. "We understand that vehicles have a significant impact on the environment, so we work very hard to be a part of the solution," said Tag Taguchi, president and CEO of Toyota Motor North America. "We hope this report will give readers an understanding of the environmental activities that Toyota and all its employees are promoting across North America. We've challenged ourselves to make the planet a better place, and we're proud of our performance to date." Key highlights from each stage of Toyota's business include:
  • Design and Development: For the 2003 model year the fuel efficiency of Toyota's products once again outperformed the automobile industry as a whole in both the United States and Canada. Four models were recognized by Federal government agencies for their class-leading fuel economy. Toyota's development of advanced technology vehicles reached a milestone with the launch of the first fuel cell lease program in California. Real world evaluation of the Toyota FCHV has proven that the vehicle's hydrogen fuel system is reliable, safe, durable, and easy to use. Toyota introduced the all-new, larger and more powerful Toyota Prius featuring Hybrid Synergy Drive. This second-generation hybrid system comes at a time when other manufacturers are still working to release their first hybrid vehicle.

  • Manufacturing: Toyota said it reduced landfill waste disposal by 25 percent per unit of production, water usage by 12 percent, and energy consumption by 5 percent, which the company characterized as "a significant accomplishment" given its increases in production volume and plant size. Manufacturing plants in Alabama and West Virginia achieved zero landfill status by reducing materials usage, recycling, and converting waste into reusable energy.

  • Sales/Use: Toyota said it became "the acknowledged leader in hybrid technology" as cumulative global sales of the gas-electric hybrid Prius topped 120,000 units. Forty-six percent of those sales (more than 50,000 units) were in North America. Toyota said it also made strides in reducing the impact of its sales and distribution operations by completing the construction of its new 640,000 square foot South Campus headquarters in Torrance, Calif. The project garnered the United States Green Building Council's Gold LEEDtm award, the largest commercial building to date to achieve that distinction.

  • End of Life/Recycling: Toyota initiated "Toyota Recycle Vision," a global set of action guidelines to improve vehicle recovery, increase use of recycled materials, raise the number of used parts in the aftermarket and reduce use of substances of concern. "Toyota Recycle Vision" reinforces its worldwide commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of its products at the end of their useful life, according to the company.

  • Stakeholders: For the fourth consecutive year, Toyota was the title sponsor of National Public Lands Day, the largest one-day volunteer cleanup of our nation's parks.

    'Much More To Be Done' "We are determined to achieve top-level environmental performance throughout our business," Taguchi said. "While we've made good progress during the past year, we realize there's much more to be done." As part of its ongoing environmental program, Toyota said it plans to:

  • Achieve top levels of fuel efficiency in all vehicle classes.

  • Introduce to market additional new hybrid electric vehicles by 2005, including a hybrid Lexus RX 330 in the fall of 2004, followed by a Toyota SUV.

  • Reduce total energy use by 15 percent per unit of production at its North American plants, resulting in a 15 percent decrease in CO2 by 2006.

  • Reduce hazardous waste disposal to landfills by 95 percent by 2006.

  • Reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 30 percent by 2006.

  • Reduce total water use by 15% per unit of production by 2006.

    To review the full Toyota North America Environmental Report, visit