Toyota has expanded rapidly in Europe and now has 8 plants and 28 national marketing and sales companies. Each affiliated company has its own social contribution activities to respond to local needs and demands. At the same time Toyota needs to have a unique and consistent corporate activity, image and identity at Pan-European level, with a clear focus on key corporate topics such as environment, road safety and technical education.
Toyota Motor Europe, through the Toyota Fund for Europe (TFfE), has identified 2 different types of NGO parnterships: Umbrella-type international NGO: Example = Red Cross Road Safety Campaign.
- The aim is to raise awareness and provide first aid training, targeting youth and children.
- Implemented in 26 countries with over 230 events.
- While the campaign's overall objectives, framework and material templates were set with partners at the international level (Red Cross/ EU Office, European Commission and Toyota Motor Europe), each country has tailor-made its own activities through cooperation between Red Cross National Societies, national Toyota affiliates and other local road safety organisations (police, safety council, etc), in accordance with capacity and local needs.
National NGO with international network: Example = Schools for Sustainable Development Community Action Programme.
- Aim is to promote Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and local community-school cooperation for small-scale environmental action projects by giving people the opportunity (financial and technical advice) to make improvements to their neighbourhood.
- Implemented in Poland, Czech Republic and the UK with different NGOs in respective countries.
- Over 80 projects implemented locally in total.
- Partners: in UK - Groundwork UK + Toyota GB; in Poland - Polish Environmental Partnership + TMMP (Toyota plant); in Czech Republic - Czech Environmental Partnership + TPCA (plant); at Secretariat - Groundwork UK and Toyota Motor Europe.
- Regular meetings with representatives from each organisation to discuss and agree the programme plan at international and national/local level, as well as to share good practices.
The following hurdles had to be overcome: At European level:
- Identify a good international partner with local activities, open to business involment.
- Invest time on brokering and coordination.
- Set relatively loose common framework and objectives (related to corporate topics) that bring added value both to the society and the company.
At grassroots level:
- Take time to build up mutual understanding and trust.
- Understand and make use of the international common framework and available resources.
- Design the local activity to fit into the local context, with clear and focused objectives.
- International cooperation with NGOs while reaching people on the ground through grassroots activities with practical improvements.
- Active involvement of local Toyota affiliates - creating closer linkages with their local communities and local NGOs.