Section 2. Response to Environmental and Safety Issues
Item 2. Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Measures on Substances of Concern
Reducing substances of concern
Regarding volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other atmospheric pollutants, the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) system was introduced in countries around the world in the latter half of the 1990s and relevant legislation was also enacted in Japan in 1999. From the second phase of the Toyota Environmental Action Plan, at the same time as promoting further reduction of the emissions volume of painting solvents, which are VOCs, TMC also undertook information disclosure ahead of the enactment of the relevant legislation. From the third phase on, initiatives were aimed at targets for reduction of the total volume of PRTR substances and of VOC emissions volume per unit of vehicle body surface painted, with target values set for TMC and for its domestic and overseas consolidated affiliates.
To reduce VOC emissions in the painting process, a switch to water-borne paints and improvements in facilities were among the various measures necessary. In the latter half of the 1980s, the Production Engineering Group, in a joint project with Toyota Central Research & Development Laboratories, Inc., developed a bell painting machine for metallic paints, which boosts painting efficiency and reduces the volume of paint used, and phased it in on painting lines. In 1992, Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. introduced a water-borne paint for use in the topcoat base, and in 2001 Toyota Motor Manufacturing France S.A.S. succeeded in practical application of a cartridge painting technique that achieved a level of painting efficiency using water-borne paint equivalent to that of solvent-based paint and that reduces paint wastage during color change. These technologies started off the process of conversion to water-borne paint for the topcoat basecoat. In 2002, to coincide with an update of the No. 1 painting line at the Tahara Plant, the topcoat basecoat and surfacer coat were both converted to water-borne materials, after which similar facilities were introduced successively to coincide with the establishment of new lines or upgrade of existing lines.
In the area of substances of concern contained in products, the European Union's end-of-life vehicle directive of 2000 required automakers to collect end-of-life vehicles free of charge from 2007 and to achieve a certain recycling rate. To coincide with its adaptation to the directive, Toyota worked from a global perspective in Europe to reduce four substances of concern: lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium. In 2006, all Japanese production affiliates eliminated the four substances and, by the end of 2007, the main overseas plants had achieved near-complete elimination. Later, it became increasingly important to monitor the use not only of these four specified substances but of all chemical substances, and relevant initiatives were introduced accordingly.