Before I have chosen Toyota Motor Corporation as a company for my case study, I knew it would be one of the Japanese companies. I am very interested in Japan and Japanese people. To me, they seem like a hard working nation of a very competitive spirit, which constantly seeks for improvement. Every time when I would see a group of Japanese business people at airports or at any other location, they would often have their lap tops in their laps and would be doing something productive. I wanted to know more about their biggest leader in the business word – Toyota. I’ve had a chance to drive one of the Toyota’s hybrid cars and was very impressed with their new technology.
Up until 30-40 miles per hour, the car does not use gas, but other energy, and barely makes any noise. It feels like driving a toy and, even more importantly, it is very efficient on gas. I wanted to know more about the company, their visions and views, beliefs, different ways they practice sustainability, their philosophy and philanthropy, and other values. Toyota Motor Corporation, better known as Toyota, is the biggest company in Japan and the biggest car manufacturer in the World, just recently passing General Motors. More importantly, it is ranked first in net revenue, profit, and revenue.
Amazingly enough, it is the only car manufacturer to appear in the top 10 of BrandZ ranking; that is a brand equity database, comparing over 23,000 that collects the data from costumers, across 31 countries. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrandZ) Toyota is also the owner of Scion and luxury Lexus. Throughout 2007, the company produced around 9.5 million vehicles, and it plans on producing 10.4 million vehicles during 2008, which would break all the records. Being the most profitable automaker in 2006, the company earned $11 billion. It is also the 8th largest company of the World, having their factories all over the globe.
Most of their assembly plants are located in Japan, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Brazil, and recently in Pakistan, India, Argentina, Czech Republic, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Venezuela, and the Philippines. (http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/index.html) Now that we know it is on of the World’s leaders regarding profit, net worth, and revenue, let’s see if they how big of a leader Toyota is regarding theirviews on corporate social responsibility. Is Toyota only a profit driver organization or more than that?
As state on their web cite, one of their main missions is “to establish relationships and build trust in every client for the purpose of educating and facilitating the purchase or lease of the right vehicle in a timely, professional manner.” (http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/index.html) Therefore, Toyota is a big supporter of Toyota Family Literacy Program, National Center for Family Literacy that help low-income community members, United Negro College Fund that provides 40 annually scholarships, National Underground Freedom Center with donations of more than $1 million annually.
Toyota Motor Corporation is also a creator of Toyota USA Foundation. Not only is this giant carmaker a big donator, but it certainly paying a lot of attention to higher education. In 1981, Toyota founded Toyota Technological Institute in Japan, with its expansion during 2003, while opening up Toyota Technological Institute of Chicago.
The company supports many educational organizations, such as: Toyota Driving Expectations Program, Toyota Youth for Understanding Summer Exchange Scholarship Program, Toyota International Teacher Program, Toyota Tapestry, and Toyota Community Scholars that is a provider of scholarships for high school students, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Internship Program, and Toyota Founded Scholarship. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota)
Listed above are just a few organizations that this car manufacturer happens to be a supporter or creator of, only in the United State. Their service throughout the World is even larger. However, I was very curious of what their standings are in terms of sustainability practices and the rest of the elements of a triple bottom line.
I found their Sustainability Report for the year of 2007, which is almost 100 pages long. However, they kept their theme quite simple; it is: “A new future for people, society, and planet,” which is, I think, a very brief statement that carries a very strong and powerful message at the same time. Their sustainability practices mainly focus on the following things: energy/global warming, recycles of recourses, substances of concern, atmospheric quality, and environmental management conducted to promote initiatives in each area. Throughout their sustainability report, their stakeholder explains history, development, background, and different approaches to all these activities in details.
They’ve also provided their customers and consumers with the questionnaire in which they encouraged them to leave their feedbacks. (http://www.toyota.com/) One of the company’s main goals is to “seek harmony between people, society and the global environment, and sustainable development of society.” One thing I’ve found very interesting is their Guiding Principles, which were adopted on January of 1992, but modified in April of 1997. It consists of 7 bullets and it reflects the type of company Toyota constantly seeks to become.
Here is what they have listed: “Honor the language and spirit of the law of every nation and undertake open and fair corporate activities to be a good citizen of the world; respect the culture and customs of every nation and contribute on economic and social development through corporate activities in the communities; dedicate ourselves to providing clean and safe products and to enhancing the quality of life everywhere through all our activities; create and develop advanced technologies and provide outstanding products and services that fulfill the needs of customers worldwide;
foster a corporate culture that enchases individual creativity and teamwork value, while honoring mutual trust and respect between labor management; pursue growth in harmony with the global community through innovative management; work with business partners in research and creation to achieve stable; long-term growth and mutual benefits, while keeping ourselves open to new partnerships.” (http://www.toyota.com/)
They’ve also provided the reader with the Contribution toward Sustainable Development, which in a way reflect on their Guiding Principles. It talks about their responsibilities toward customers, employees, business partners, shareholders, global society, and local communities (environment, community, and philanthropy). (http://www.toyota.com/)
Toyota was one of the first to successfully produce Hybrid cars, which are known as cleaner or greener cars. I question whether they did so for the purpose of maximizing profits or simply did it as the “friend to our planet.” And so I did further research about the company, and was nicely surprised. Their philosophy is simple: it consists in reducing pollution, traffic deaths and road congestion. (http://www.toyota.com/)
As I couldn’t find the typical Mission Statement or Credo, I “pulled off” what they see as their mission statement. Here is what they have to say
about it: “Around here, our values are just like yours. We’re hard-working; we’re active in your community; we’re committed to the environment; we celebrate our diversity; we’re creating jobs, we’re making history; we’re building cleaner, greener cars; and this is just he beginning.” Again, it is very brief and short, but at the same time highly influential, powerful, and strong message. (http://www.toyota.com/)
Toyota is celebrating their 50th anniversary in the United States this year. From the very beginning the company has had a great vision for this country and that is “to enrich society through building cars.” They had a right vision and have worked extremely hard while striving to achieve it. As the company states in their web cite, they realize they their responsibility is way higher than only maximizing their profit.
Their long-term goal lies in Toyota’s contribution to society, their employees, and most importantly to future generations. (http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/index.html ) I will now present some facts that prove the statement above. Toyota provided 34,675 jobs being the biggest manufacturer in the United States, while its presence in this country helps create more than approximately 386,000 jobs. The company’s payroll totals $2.9 billion per year, while purchasing $28 billion in parts, materials, and services.
Most importantly, Toyota has donated more than $340 million to U.S. community and non-profit group since the year of 1991. Since they started operations in the United States, in October 21, 1957, company’s total investment grew to more than $15 billion. Toyota also has a tremendous influence on American market, simply because as a big rival to other car manufacturers, from our outside of the United States, it makes the market more competitive. (2005 Center of Automotive Research Study)
As I was doing the research about the company, I tried to find some negative things about it. I do like Toyota, but I am trying to be as objective as I can be. Amazingly enough, I wasn’t able to find any information that would go against this giant car manufacturer.
It may be ironic, in a way, that I have chosen a car manufacturer as an example of a company that rightly and successfully practices sustainability,simply because of a foot print on the environment the cars are making. However, it is good that one car manufacturer is capable of setting up a good example for all companies, no matter what their products or services are, in terms of practicing sustainability. Some may wonder how does one company, which plans on selling 10.4 million vehicles during 2008, could represent a good example in practicing sustainability and triple bottom line. It can!!! How great was their investment in hybrid cars. That may be the biggest revolutionary step in the history of car manufacturing.
One hybrid car, as of right now, uses gas and power, as their sources in order to run. Not only does that makes the footprint a car has on the environment smaller, but it also reduces the use of oil. The cost (Anderson’s example) of one gallon of gas may be lower, in that case. Hybrid vehicles represent a great start for the cars of future generations that may not use gas at all, years down the road. Interestingly, most of the information provided above was not found on their web cite, but on other web cites and through other sources.
It is one of the few companies that does not say much, but does a lot, regarding triple bottom line and sustainability. As the acts say much more than words do, Toyota is leading by example. Toyota Motor Corporation represents the leading example not only to other car manufacturers, but to all the companies generally.