Toyota, through a partnership with the Wyland Foundation, is attempting to raise awareness of the importance of clean water and watershed health across the country with the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. The campaign, led by mayors of 4,800 US cities, rewards residents who pledge to make water conservation efforts with a chance to win $5,000 toward their home utility bills, home irrigation makeovers, and other prizes. Toyota also incorporates major water conservation initiatives within its own operations.
“I’ve been struck at how a focus on continually reducing waste merges financial success and environmental success into a single driving force,” Toyota’s manager of sustainability, environment and safety, Ryan McMullan, told Environmental Leader last fall.
With the contest, one charity will receive a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid for its organization. Last year, mayors from 36 states encouraged residents to make over 420,000 pledges to promote drought resiliency, protect watersheds, and ultimately reduce stress on aging water infrastructure, according to the Wyland Foundation.
The non-profit campaign is presented in association with EPA WaterSense, The Toro Company, National League of Cities, Conserva Irrigation, and Earth Friendly Products (makers of ECOS).
Water conservation is one of the main pillars of Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050. The automaker says it has been working to introduce innovative water management technologies as well as upgrades to its production lines. In FY2016, total water consumption at Toyota was down 1.9% from the previous year. Globally, Toyota says its measures are gradually reducing water usage in different ways, depending on the water environment in each country and region. In particular, Toyota is encouraging water recycling in those regions with scarce water resources.
According to forecasts, the world’s population will grow to 9.1 billion by 2050, water demand will increase 55% from current levels, and 40% of the world’s’ population is therefore expected to suffer water shortages, Toyota points out. “Water is used in painting and other car manufacturing processes, making it imperative to reduce impacts on the water environment as much as possible. We have two main strategies to adopt our challenge; thoroughly reducing the amount of water used, and comprehensive water purification and returning it to the Earth,” the company says in its Environmental Challenge 2050 pledge.
Other Toyota water initiatives include collecting rainwater to reduce the amount of industrial water usage, raising the water recycling rate through filtering, recycling wastewater for reuse, and returning clean water to the local environment.
Editor’s note: Ryan will be speaking on Goal Setting in Environmental and Sustainability Strategy at the Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Summit, May 15-17, in May.