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This month marks a major environmental milestone for Toyota with all of its dealer network now certified Enviro-Mark Gold standard or better, an initiative which is already proving its worth in minimising the company's environmental impact.
Dealers have been working since 2010 to achieve Enviro-Mark certification, with measures including recycling, decreasing waste, and carefully managing water and energy use. With Northland Toyota's newly built premises certified this month, the Gold or above status for the entire network became a reality.
Toyota New Zealand CEO Alistair Davis says Enviro-Mark is an important part of Toyota's commitment to reducing emissions.
"Dealers have embraced Enviro-Mark which is a very positive change for the business. It's great to see the impacts already but this is very much a long game for us," he says.
Mr Davis says the dealers' buy in to Enviro-Mark is a heartening response, not only to Toyota New Zealand's focus on sustainability initiatives and minimising environmental impacts but also to a sea change in public thinking.
Toyota's national vehicle dealer network is the first and only network in the country to attain Enviro-Mark certification. Enviro-Mark is a nationally recognised Environmental Management System (EMS) which sees all participating sites audited regularly. Enviro-Mark has also been a major contributor to Toyota's dealer network saving an estimated one million kWh of electricity, through smart initiatives in showrooms, offices and workshops, since it introduced energy saving programmes. Based on current emissions factors, that's the equivalent of a reduction of approximately 160 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Toyota Environmental Officer Tristan Lavender says Enviro-Mark is an important part of managing the environmental impacts across Toyota's entire supply chain, and for delivering on growing customer expectations in this area.
"To achieve Enviro-Mark Gold certification dealers must establish clear environmental objectives and targets, monitor significant impacts, develop an action plan, and document procedures to manage potential impacts," Mr Lavender says.
Every dealer has set up projects to manage CO2 emissions and wastewater, as well as individual projects focused on a specific impact of their choice. "As well as the obvious environmental benefits there have also been efficiencies and commercial advantages," Mr Lavender says. "For example, a number of the dealers have saved thousands of dollars on their electricity and waste collection costs while others have won fleet tenders from companies which share similar values and appreciate the efforts their local dealership has made."
The newly built Northland Toyota premises contains a number of purpose built environmental features which help contribute to substantial energy and water savings. The dealership has four 25,000-litre rainwater tanks which gives it 100,000 litres of water to use for its car wash and workshop. A recycling unit in the car wash which means 80 per cent of the water it uses can be recycled and reused back through the car wash which helps keep wastewater to a minimum.
The tanks have minimised the dealership's need for council-supplied water, reducing the costs for water supply and enabling further saving in development contributions paid to the council. They also provide sufficient quantities of readily available water to avoid the need to include a costly fire hydrant on the dealership site.
When it comes to electricity conservation, Northland has incorporated energy efficient LED and fluorescent lighting in the showroom and yard. Its workshop features lux meters which automatically adjust electric lighting depending on the natural light available at any given time. State-of-the-art air conditioning uses "Eagle Eye" technology to adjust heating and cooling outputs depending on where people are in the dealership, with natural ventilation adding to the building's comfort levels for staff and customers.
While Northland has taken full advantage of opportunities to include green features in its new premises, other dealerships have initiated a wide range of projects to help them achieve their Enviro-mark Gold status.
"Projects across the network include waste battery recycling, coolant recycling, solid and skip waste management, solvent management and recycling and e-waste management," Mr Lavender says. "Other dealers have overhauled their processes around oil storage and bunding, used oil and filter management or chemical thresholds and safe storage to ensure they are safer and more environmentally friendly."
Toyota New Zealand provides ongoing support for dealership environmental management and has provided full Enviro-Mark training for all dealers, assisting dealers with Enviro-Mark requirements and audit follow-up and counter-measures.
Enviro-Mark is a nationally recognised environmental management programme operated by Crown Research Institute, Landcare Research. Organisations progress through five levels, form bronze to diamond, and are independently audited at each step. Toyota New Zealand chose Enviro-Mark because it is a great way to lift the environmental performance of its entire network.