Initiatives Related to Biodiversity Conservation

Three Connecting Projects Expand Activities among Communities, with the World, to the Future

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 Green Wave Project: Connecting Communities
  • Toyota Today for Tomorrow Project: Connecting with the World
  • Toyota ESD Project: Connecting to the Future

Initiatives at the New Toyota R&D Center Promoting Harmony with Nature and Local Communities

Toyota is constructing a new research and development facility in the overlapping area of Toyota City and Okazaki City. This new facility will be a hub for development of sustainable next-generation mobility. The main design concept is a technical center in harmony with nature and local communities. About 60 percent of the total project site will be preserved as areas for the regeneration of forests and management of yatsuda rice paddies (paddies in low-lying areas) in collaboration with the local community. Toyota is also actively sharing information including the status of these activities and findings gained from them. Toyota is also actively releasing information including the status of these activities and new findings gained from them.

■Acorn tree planting activity at business site

In June 2017, Toyota held a tree plating activity with the participation of 90 prefectural and municipal personnel and others local concerned persons including fifth and sixth grade students and teachers from the Hanayama, Tomoegaoka, and Onuma Elementary Schools in Toyota City and the Shimoyama Elementary School in Okazaki City. The saplings, grown at elementary schools in milk packs, were raised from konara oak and Japanese blue oak acorns collected on the business site. On the day of the event, a total of 600 saplings were planted. By growing saplings from collected acorns and returning them to the mountain, we are preserving acorn mountain. The Karen Forest Development Promotion Association, a member organization of the Shimoyama Satoyama Conference, plays a central role in this program, and Toyota employees participate as volunteers each year. We will continue to support local proactive activities that lead to the preservation of Satoyama and will take measures to make the new R&D facility a sustainable technical center in harmony with nature and local communities.

Children planting saplings grown from acorns

Personnel from schools, local government, and the local community at the tree-planting event

■Rice paddy living creatures survey team

In July 2017, we conducted a survey of the living creatures in rice paddies. We used landing nets and plastic bottle traps to capture living creatures in three kinds of waterside areas with different environmental conditions: rice paddies (with agricultural chemical use), biotope (without agricultural chemical use), and waterways. We examined the species and numbers living in each environment and compared the differences. Participants learned from explanation by an expert that there is a relationship between the living creatures living in rice paddies and surrounding forests, and when living creatures decrease due to changes in the environment, food chains collapse, and ultimately there is an impact on human food supplies.

Observation of captured living creatures

Explanation by an expert

■Bamboo charcoal making and searching for spring living creatures in satoyama

In March 2018, we conducted a program on making charcoal from bamboo and searching for spring living creatures in satoyama. The objective was to inform participants about earlier lifestyles in satoyama, which used natural resources cyclically, and raise awareness about current satoyama issues. Members of the Nukata Charcoal Making Group, a member organization of the Shimoyama Satoyama Conference, demonstrated bamboo charcoal making techniques using pail can and discussed uses for charcoal in daily life. Participants learned about damage caused by animals and one of the solutions is to hunt and eat. They tasted a lunch of wild boar stew prepared by local mothers. During the search for living creatures, participants learned about the various environments of satoyama and the many creatures inhabiting them by finding signs of living creatures in forests and grasslands, and observing egg masses of montane brown frogs in rice paddies.

Bamboo charcoal making using pail cans

Observing montane brown frog egg masses

Vision for the new R&D Center

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.

Ultimate goals of the new R&D Center

Initiatives to conserve forests and yatsuda rice paddies (marshy areas surrounded by satoyama)

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".

Environment Monitoring Committee

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.

Progress in FY2015: Frogs Join Series of Informational Pamphlets, Bringing Total to Five

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)