According to forecasts, the world’s population will grow to 9.1 billion by 2050, water demand will increase 55 percent from current levels, and 40 percent of the world’s population is therefore expected to suffer water shortages*.
Water problems such as increases in water stress in conjunction with rising populations and stricter regulations in response to deterioration of water quality in rivers and other water sources are important issues from the perspective of risks in corporate activities.
Water is used in painting and other car manufacturing processes. This makes it imperative to reduce the impact on the water environment, to whatever degree possible.
There are significant differences in the characteristics of the water environment depending on the region, but we have two main strategies: thoroughly reduce the amount of water used and comprehensively purify water and return it to the environment. Toyota has implemented various initiatives such as collecting rainwater to reduce industrial water usage, cutting water usage in production processes, recycling wastewater to reduce amounts withdrawn from water sources, and returning high-quality water to local environments.
In the future, we will undertake measures that have a positive impact on local water environments, taking into consideration the local requests and water issues.
The Earth, two-thirds of which is covered by water, is called the “water planet,” and at a glance, it would appear that there is an abundance of water. However, water is now referred to as a scarce resource, and the water crisis has been continuously recognized as a global crisis by the World Economic Forum (Davos Forum) since 2012.
The water risks faced by businesses include physical risks created by water shortages, water pollution, and flooding, regulatory risks relating to taxation and effluent regulations, and reputational risks relating to brand image and so on.
Water issues are characterized by substantially uneven spatial and temporal distribution, and this means that regionally-coordinated risk management is needed.
To identify water risks in each region, Toyota uses regional databases and information and assessment tools provided by the WWF, WRI, WBCSD,*1 and other organizations to assess the impact on water environments based on operating data and other plant information.
We also continuously gather information relating to water so that we can respond flexibly to changes caused by climate change and address regional issues by taking measures to reduce water consumption and improve water quality. In addition, we respond appropriately to stakeholders (including customers, employees, investors, local communities and NGOs) with interests in water issues. For example, we consider access to clean water and sanitary facilities a fundamental human right and provide them to all employees.
Toyota also proactively works in collaboration with and discloses information to stakeholders. We are working to enhance interactive communications with local communities by conducting conferences, plant tours, and other programs and disclose information through CDP Water and other such programs.
Although water-related issues and measures differ depending on the region, Toyota established the Toyota Water Environment Policy and takes action in order to achieve the goals of our water environment Challenge on a global level.
Under the Toyota Water Environment Policy, we are assessing our impact on water environments and working to minimize those impacts from two perspectives: the input side, where we are taking thorough measures to reduce water usage, and the output side, where we are taking comprehensive measures to purify water.
We take action from three directions—the pursuit of environmental technologies, community-rooted operations, and cooperation with society—and strive to be the region’s leading plant linked to regional prosperity.
To reduce water usage in our production activities, we have been working to introduce innovative technologies alongside planned upgrades to our production lines, and to conduct daily measures to reduce water usage. In FY2018, total water usage was 10.3 million m3 (down 3.2 percent year on year). Water usage per unit produced was 4.0 m3 (down 7.6 percent year on year). Globally, Toyota is steadily implementing measures to reduce water usage according to the actual water environment in each country and region. In FY2018, total water usage rose to 32.9 million m3 (up 0.4 percent year on year). Water usage per unit produced was 3.1 m3, up 1.2 percent year on year.