Toyota: Never Mind The Recalls, Here's The Greenwashing

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan

Call it “a bid to retain green credentials”, call it “ distractions to all the recalls,” Toyota are keen to let you know that they are targeting a 27% reduction in energy consumed per vehicle produced at their North American facilities. reports that Toyota are using fiscal year 2002 as a baseline and Toyota hopes that by 2011, the goal of 27% will be achieved. The areas which Toyota are concentrating on are energy & climate change, recycling & reduced use of resources, substances of concern and air quality. Now here come the boring figures.

For 2009, Toyota expects their NA plants to use 61,481 BTU’s per square foot, which is down from 2008 which was 66,234BTU’s. Other ways which Toyota is trying to reduce emissions is by implementing solar panels at its Ontario, California parts plant; it will be the second largest solar panel array in the United States. At Princeton, Indiana and Ontario, California, they are using water-borne paint systems to reduce volatile organic compounds. Now whilst the crowd with green-tinted glasses will applaud Toyota’s efforts, here’s another little statistic. According to Toyota’s own North American Environmental Report, Toyota’s North American plants consume $147million in energy per year and emit 1.1 million metric tons of CO2 per year. It would be well within Toyota’s interests to shave 27% of both those figures, especially with tax on every tonne of Carbon dioxide produced. So what some might call “environmental measures”, I call “cost cutting”.

Cammy Corrigan
Cammy Corrigan

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  • ZoomZoom ZoomZoom on Dec 09, 2009

    I suspect that Ms. Corrigan may not have made the title/headline choice, because it seems to not match with the content of the article. I agree that cost cutting, no matter the underlying reason (the economy, cost of raw materials, fuel, labor, etc) can be considered "green". Personally, I couldn't care less about "green" claims (referring to low pollution) because I don't believe we are capable of polluting ourselves into oblivion; we'll run out of oil before that will happen. But if you know your market and your market wants everything green, then you push it, regardless of your own belief system. You push it as far as it will go. Then you push it some more. But is it "greenwashing" if you are merely offering what your market wants? After all, the customer is always right, even if he's ignorant or downright dumb.

    • See 2 previous
    • Rnc Rnc on Dec 10, 2009

      +1 imag - That is what amazes me sometimes that people can't stop to think that releasing something in a matter of years what it took the earth's natural cycle hundreds of millions of year to capture is not harmful in anyway.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Dec 09, 2009

    In the sense of I don't care what you did for me yesterday, what are you gonna do for me today and tomorrow... or lies, damn lies, statistics (?)... Excuse me, but why are they measuring against a 2002 baseline in (Happy New Year) 2010? If the 27% is going to come by 2011, they have a bit over a year to achieve their target ... so, what is the saving they will achieve in THAT time? And what part of that 27% has already been achieved? Also, given that the market is down, have they normalized the numbers by extrapolating their performance for 2008-end 2010? I didn't run the figures, but I have the hunch that Toyota is taking advantage of past achievements, reduced production, and the fact that crude oil is back to its 2004 level to make it look like they have become more efficient. If an analysis of the numbers proves me wrong, I'll willingly stand corrected.

    • Imag Imag on Dec 09, 2009

      Using an out of date baseline usually makes things harder, not easier, when your company is growing. It means they are trying to reduce from previous (lower) levels. And for what it's worth, Toyota was putting in solar in 2002 as part of a LEED Gold certified set of buildings. Ford has also threw down for an eco-groovy headquarters, so I'm not trying to be a Toyota fanboy, I am just saying that the overarching strategy isn't some conspiracy to distract from floormats.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Dec 09, 2009

    We'll believe the Green-wash when they stop selling Sequoias and Land Crushers.

  • Geo. Levecque Geo. Levecque on Dec 10, 2009

    Toyota Canada has annouced this morning Dec.10th that they are adding a second shift at Woodstock, Ontario with 800 jobs from March 2010 to produce the RAV4 cross over vehicle!