Toyota has long regarded environmental issues as one of its top management priorities. Guided by our basic management tenet of seeking growth in harmony with the environment, we have taken steps to develop and popularize technologies that enable the economy and the environment to coexist.
In 1992, the Company set out guidelines for its environment-related activities in the Toyota Earth Charter. In the following year, we issued the Toyota Environmental Action Plan to reflect those guidelines in operations. At present, Toyota is implementing its third such action plan, which began in 2001, and in April 2006 the Company will roll out initiatives based on the fourth five-year Toyota Environmental Action Plan. After reconsidering the key environmental issues that we are likely to face over the medium-to-long term, we organized that new plan around four overriding issues: Energy / Global Warming, Resource Recycling, Environmentally Burdensome Substances, and Air Quality. Then, we prepared concrete measures to address those issues for different operational areas: design and development; purchasing, production, and distribution; and sales and recycling.
Tree-planting program conducted by Toyota Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute
Bioplastics pilot plant
For vehicles, we aim to achieve a sustainable, mobile society by minimizing harmful exhaust emissions and maximizing fuel efficiency. To those ends, Toyota is steadily producing tangible results through the development and marketing of next-generation engines and exhaust emission reduction systems. Since the Prius was introduced in 1997 as the world's first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, we have actively enhanced our hybrid vehicles.
In production, we are doing our utmost to reduce emissions of CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by aggressively introducing production technologies and thoroughly implementing daily control activities. In fiscal 2005, through the steady implementation of these measures, we met our objectives for reductions in emissions of CO2 and VOCs in the painting process.
In 1998, we developed technology for the recycling of materials that are regarded as difficult to recycle, such as auto shredder residue. In 2003, we initiated the Toyota Recycle Vision, which seeks the early realization of a 95% vehicle recovery ratio. To achieve that target, we are designing vehicles that are much easier to dismantle and recycle. Moreover, Toyota is playing a central role in the operation of the new recycling system created through the enactment of the Automobile Recycling Law in 2005. For example, we have constructed nationwide systems for information management and for the collection and recycling of shredder residue, airbags, and various materials, including chlorofluorocarbons.
Toyota's environmental management encompasses every stage of a vehicle's life, from development and production through distribution, usage, disposal, and recycling. In 2005, we introduced Eco-VAS (Eco-Vehicle Assessment System), a comprehensive environmental evaluation system based on life cycle assessment. Using that system, we will steadily improve the environmental performance of vehicles by fixing numerical targets at the outset of all vehicle development processes.
Toyota integrates its environmental preservation efforts with those of subsidiaries in Japan and overseas based on a consolidated environmental management system introduced in 2000. We are working to achieve steady reductions in CO2 emissions, substances that place a burden on the environment, waste generation, and water usage. To enhance and reinforce local initiatives, in October 2004 we invited 40 overseas environmental managers from 31 work sites in 21 countries to Japan for a training seminar.