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Toyota is committed to safety, environmental and ethical policies across the hybrid battery value chain.
TNZ’s 2018 Sustainability Report (link, case study # and page #) describes the ‘downstream’ management of batteries in New Zealand: their nationwide collection at Toyota Stores, storage at our national parts warehouse in Palmerston North and recycling via Upcycle in Auckland and Kobar in South Korea. Appropriate procedures are followed at each stage to ensure the batteries’ safe removal from vehicles, handling, transport, storage and freight to their final destinations.
This case study describes the ‘upstream’ sourcing of raw materials used in hybrid batteries by TNZ’s parent company Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC). Public concerns have arisen about minerals in corporate supply chains procured from the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighbouring countries that may finance armed groups, create human rights abuses (such as child labour, forced labour, dangerous working conditions, death and serious injury) and cause corruption and environmental damage. Such minerals include cobalt, an important element for Toyota’s hybrid batteries.
TMC’s management approach sits within its Guiding Principles, Toyota Global vision and Sustainability Policy. These extend to supply chain operations. The Toyota Supplier Corporate Social Responsibility Guidelines require clear procedures for material procurement and care to avoid the procurement or usage of materials obtained unlawfully or unethically. Enquiries are conducted throughout supply chains, including metal smelters, to confirm if such minerals are used. Where they are found, TMC expects suppliers to take steps to discontinue their procurement.
Toyota has applied the ‘reasonable country of origin inquiry’ requirement throughout its global supply chain since 2013 for its automotive, marine and other businesses in line with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Toyota formulated a manual and briefing session to support suppliers and contacted those that had not submitted Conflict Minerals Reporting Templates. Templates were collected from thousands of suppliers.
Further information is available in TMC’s Sustainability Data Book 2020.
TMC also works with industry groups such as the Responsible Minerals Initiative. Toyota Motor North America has been engaging in the activities of the Conflict-Free Sourcing Working Group and the working group of the Automotive Industry Action Group. Toyota Motor North America continues to lead the Responsible Minerals Initiative’s Global Smelter Engagement Teams Working Group in conducting background surveys of smelters/refiners. Industry cooperation has increased the number of conflict-free smelters/refiners worldwide to 267 (as of November 2019). Of these, 265 companies are included in Toyota’s 2019 survey results.
TMC is also a partner of the ‘Drive Sustainability’ automotive partnership, which aims to establish a sustainable cobalt value chain. Visit here for more information.