Toyota Announces 'Sustainable Plant' Activities

TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announced on July 23 that it plans to soon initiate "sustainable plant" activities aimed at increasing the sustainability of its production operations.

The activities are to emphasize the role of nature in creating production sites that harmonize with their natural surroundings.

TMC aims to create and operate such production sites with the following in mind:
1. Reducing CO2 by using renewable energy, including biomass and natural energy sources, such as solar power and wind power
2. Contributing to the local community and conserving the environment by planting trees at plant
3. Achieving groundbreaking environmental performance by introducing innovative technology and kaizen (improvement) activities

These "sustainable plant" activities are to be first carried out at TMC's Tsutsumi Plant, which makes the Prius hybrid vehicle and which has been positioned as a "model sustainable plant". In addition to a cogeneration system already in place, the plant is to use a 2,000kW photovoltaic generation system, one of the biggest in use among the world’s automobile plants (as surveyed by TMC).

TMC intends to paint some of Tsutsumi's exterior walls and other surfaces with environment-improving photo-catalytic paint, which breaks down air-born nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx). The paint is expected to have the cleansing effect of 2,000 poplar trees.

With the aim of creating a production site abundant in greenery that can serve as a habitat for a diversity of flora and fauna, TMC intends to grow at Tsutsumi evergreen broadleaf trees native to the local area. It also intends to use its biotechnology and afforestation know-how such as by covering the ground and walls with NOx-absorbent vegetation. Also planned—as a form of contribution to the local community—is an on-site environmental education facility open to the general public.

By carrying out the above, centered on photovoltaic generation, TMC aims to reduce Tsutsumi's CO2 emissions by 5%, which would be equivalent to the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed by a 240-hectare tropical rain forest.

Meanwhile, at its Takaoka Plant, TMC is currently installing a new innovative assembly line, which is to begin operation soon. By introducing innovative technology and further streamlining current production systems such as the Global Body Line and Set Parts System, TMC intends to greatly improve both productivity and energy efficiency. When a second innovative assembly line goes on-line at Takaoka in 2009, the plant is expected to achieve an annual CO2 reduction effect of 35%.

TMC will continue to push for innovations and improvements that will make sustainable plants a reality; it plans to gradually initiate such activities at other vehicle and component plants both in Japan and overseas. -Toyota