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Green Thumbs-up: Toyota plants trees to protect biodiversity

Toyota employees engage with local communities across Europe to conserve our nature
Trees are not only essential, but also amazing in what they do. They are the lungs of our planet, breathing carbon dioxide in, and oxygen out, and providing homes to countless animals and plants. That’s why we take pride with each tree we plant. 

Harmony with Nature

In Poland, our colleagues have been working to clean up and protect the forest around the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland factory in Jelcz-Laskowice (TMMP-J). It all started in 2007, the local community and our members with their families got together to clean up a small forest located next to their workplace. Inspired by their employee initiative, TMMP-J announced a plan to contribute to growth of biodiversity in their community, named ‘Harmony with nature’. 
Since 2008, the community event has been held annually. It focusses on cleaning up and replanting the forest. The main goal of the project is to beautify their environment and educate the younger generation about the importance of living in harmony with the nature and ensuring local biodiversity.
“In 2008 we established strategy for harmony with nature. Tree planting was one of main activities due to two reasons. First one was to try to compensate co2 emissions from our plant. Second was to present to local community that Toyota is fully engage in cooperation with local community as they expectation was to live without industrial noise, smell and dust.”
Marcin Rebejko, Assistant Manager at TMMP-J

1,600 future trees

In the first event the TMMP-J planted 30 trees. By 2022, that number grew to 480 and 100 bushes. In 2023, for the very first time, TMMP-J cooperated with the National State Forests, who dedicated two hectares of ground for tree planting. TMMP-J volunteers and local community planted 1,600 beech seedlings, bringing the total of planted trees to 2 084, with plans to plant additional trees later this year. 

Replanting public forest

But TMMP-J is not the only tree-planting activist in Europe, nor in Poland. Volunteers from the other TMMP factory in Walbrzych have started planting trees in 2019. So far, they introduced 150 lime and beech trees on the site of the plant, as well as 400 pines in the public forest.

10,000 trees for Valenciennes

If 2,084 trees don’t sound like a lot, then what about 10,000? That’s how many trees Toyota Foundation Valenciennes – a volunteer-led initiative in France, plans to plant in the next few years. TFV are working together with a local association ‘Canopée Reforestation’ to get the local youth to take part in their activities. They are aiming to raise awareness among the young, better understand importance of trees to their environment and the value of biodiversity in their environment.

Award-winning eco-HQ in the UK

Meanwhile, Toyota’s UK sales & marketing headquarters in Burgh Heath, Surrey, have been awarded the prestigious Biodiversity Benchmark by the Wildlife Trust. The Benchmark is awarded to companies that meet the ISO 14001 environment management standard. The remarkable natural oasis, years in the making, surrounds the Toyota GB building. A mixture of native plants, animals, birds and insects have been introduced to the gardens. Overall, 161 different plant species and 235 wildlife species currently call Toyota GB their home. 

Building a nature reserve

Further down south, close to the Toyota’s European office, lies the municipality of Zaventem. Together with the local authorities, Toyota’s employees designed and opened an 8.5-hectare nature reserve, that hosts more than 2000 new trees and shrubs. Comparable in size to eight and a half football pitches, the forest is home to at least six types of indigenous trees, a significant number of insects, mushrooms, birds and mammals such as squirrels. Unpaved walking paths take you through the native forest and grassland.
“We at Toyota believe that every step, every effort, every tree counts towards achieving our environmental goals. Sustainability goes beyond just cutting down carbon emissions. It includes protecting and recreating biodiverse ecosystems in our surroundings and creating a planet that we will be proud to pass on to the next generations. And that’s what we at Toyota are working towards.”
Monica Perez Lobo, TME VP Corporate Affairs & Sustainability