Ahead of COP 10*, Toyota created the Toyota Biodiversity Guidelines (a voluntary policy initiative) in March 2008. These guidelines consist of Toyota’s basic philosophy on biodiversity-related initiatives and the following three action items: (1) Contribution through technology;(2) Collaboration and cooperation with society; and (3) Information disclosure. Toyota has been carrying out a variety of activities in accordance with these guidelines.
*COP 10:10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
Toyota is proceeding with plans to construct a new research and development facility in the overlapping area of Toyota City and Okazaki City. This new R&D Center will be a hub for the development of sustainable next-generation mobility. The main design concept is to build a technical center that operates in harmony with both the natural environment and local communities. About 60 percent of the total project site will be preserved as areas for the regeneration of forest and restoration of yatsuda rice paddies in collaboration with the local community. Toyota is also actively sharing information that includes the status of these activities and knowledge gained through them.
Toyota has taken initiatives to protect the Japanese eight-barbel loach, which lives in waterways and ponds surrounding yatsuda rice paddies, by promoting a reduction in the use of agrochemicals and chemical-based fertilizers, as well as the restoration of abandoned yatsuda rice paddies. In FY2016, we completed an additional initiative to transform U-shaped gutters into stone-lined waterways and network the waterways to ensure the loaches can move freely. In order to confirm the benefits, we are attaching tracking markers to loach each year to confirm their movement.
U-shaped gutters before construction (left) and stone-lined waterways after construction (right)
Japanese eight-barbel loach
Based on the key concepts of (1) Addressing global warming/energy issues, (2) Conserving the ecosystem and biodiversity in the area, and (3) Communicating and harmoniously coexisting with local communities, the new R&D Center is implementing a variety of environmental measures, aiming to become a technical center that exists and works in harmony with the natural environment and local communities.
In the forests and yatsuda rice paddies (marshy areas surrounded by satoyama) that make up and surround the planned site, population decline and aging have caused many problems in terms of water and soil conservation, rice paddy farming, and biodiversity. Therefore, in developing its business plan, Toyota made the decision, based on the opinions of local environmental organizations and guidance and advice from various specialists in the Technical Evaluation Committee for Conservation of the Natural Environment jointly organized with the Aichi Public Enterprise Bureau, to leave approximately 60% of the forests and yatsuda rice paddies unaltered. In planning the new Center, Toyota is working to create, maintain and manage a healthy satoyama ecosystem with a high level of biodiversity, calling these activities "Satoyama Renovation".
To ensure that environmental conservation measures are properly implemented in the forests and yatsuda rice paddies, Toyota in March 2012 established the Environment Monitoring Committee Related to the Construction of the New Toyota R&D Center, together with Aichi Public Enterprise Bureau, which is responsible for site preparation. The Committee is made up of such third party members as experts in various environmental fields and representatives from local environmental protection organizations, and provides guidance and advice from a professional perspective. It will hold biannual meetings until the R&D center has been in operation for one year.
Toyota prepares pamphlets about key species symbolizing the satoyama environment in the planned project area, distributes these at events, and makes them available on the Toyota global site. In FY2015, Toyota issued a new pamphlet on various species of frog. In addition to the known characteristics of frogs seen in and around the planned project site, the pamphlet uses photos, drawings, and easy–to-understand text in order to convey new information about the frogs’ annual lifecycle gathered through surveys of their calls and so on.
At the same time, we updated the content of the four pamphlets previously released and shown below. The pamphlet on the Japanese Night Heron Gorsachius goisagi was listed as a reference work in the Japanese Night Heron Preservation Procedure announced by the Ministry of the Environment in June 2016.
A female Black-spotted Pond Frog Ministry of the Environment Red List: NT(near-threatened species)