Toyota Greenwashing: $20m to The Audubon Society
Selling indulgences are we? Toyota has made a $20m donation to the Audubon Society, the single largest donation in the conservation society's history. At the same time (coincidence or what?), ToMoCo and AuDoBo are co-launching " TogetherGreen.org." The Car Connection says TogetherGreen programs will have three prongs (devil's trident perhaps?). The first "uses innovation grants to increase measurable land, water, and/or energy conservation." Part two: conservation fellowships. TogetherGreen will train up to 200 environmentalists that can become expert guides, organizers and role models. Part three funds volunteer days, which will be offered at Audubon's network of nationwide community centers, to present hands-on experience with environmental issues." Out of curiosity, what's the bet the Audubon society won't be criticizing Toyota's nine SUVs anytime in the near or distant future?
Nine SUVs. Let's hit some of the highights of these mean machines. RAV4. Car based. Most sold with the base 2.4L 4 cylinder engine. ULEV. EPA Smartway rated. Highlander. Car based. ULEV and SULEV. Available as a hybrid. EPA Smartway rated. RX. Car based. Available as a hybrid. ULEV and SULEV. EPA Smartway rated. Sequoia/Land Cruiser/LX. More powerful than outgoing models yet with increased mpg. ULEV. Well that's six of 'em. The FJ is just a niche vehicle. That just leaves the aging GX and 4Runner, which could use an update, and judging by Toyota's history will be greener with the next version. Just saying that Toyota is not green because they sell nine SUVs is not a fair assessment. They are not selling nine version of the H2. Toyota does many efforts throughout the year, grants to school and foundations, changing practices at factories to promote sustainability. This latest effort is just one more on their part. It deserves praise, not ridicule. All corporations enage in PR designed charity. But day after day, week afer week, year after year, Toyota is constantly putting their money where their mouth is in regards to environmental awareness. Yet they are constantly criticized for it. Toyota is in the business to make cars and make money. Nobody is foolish enough to believe that this is not priority one. But they have also made a public commitment to being at the forefront of sustainability and environmental awareness. Had they given a million dollars, maybe that would be just greenwashing. 20 million. That is the real deal. The trees thank them.
bluecon, That's one reason why I still love MB, even if I do love to make fun of him. marc, Toyota gets criticised, but their green image is still strong. They are doing fine. OTOH, JB's point is accurate, and the analogy to the church is brilliant.
Marc, All true statements, and greenwashing may be a bit harsh, but in Toyota's push to become a full line automaker they've lost the plot. Their CAFE average has plummeted and suddenly they now find themselves sitting next to the Big 2.8 in congressional hearings. They should never have built the new Tundra and the dedicated plant to go with it in San Antonio. So is the analysis in the post a little jaded, sure, but Toyota no longer deserves and automatic pass from the greenies. They should be more concerned however by the fact that they no longer get an automatic pass from Consumer Reports & J.D.Power. Arguably the weakest cars in their lineup are the small econoboxes like the Corrola. A big company with some quality issues and a lack of good small cars, doesn't sound very Japanese.....
Toyota is green? I guess those Sequoias, Tundras, Land Cruisers and 4Runners exist only in my imagination. Apparently the Prius and a big fat check cover a whole multitude of sins - or a lineup of "sinful" vehicles. At least Honda doesn't make a V-8, and refuses to make a body-on-frame pickup or SUV. Which may be why Honda doesn't have to give big checks to environmental organizations for protection, oops, I mean, good public relations.