The challenge is for Toyota to involve dealers in minimising their environmental footprints through waste reduction, energy consumption reduction, and use of renewable energy.
Toyota has initiated a Sustainable Retailer program to encourage vendors across Europe to reduce their energy consumption. To date, over 120 retailers have joined the program. The Sustainable Retailer program also involves Toyota retailers (independent SMEs) in cooperative events with local non-profit organisations, enabling them to become Environmental champions in their own communities.
Two European flagship projects have been rolled out: The EcoDriving workshop series and the Eco-Schools Environment & Innovation school competition. The program was initially disconnected from the Toyota Retailer network. In 2009, the company began to involve the independent Toyota retailers in the community projects to make them local advocates.
The existing EcoDriving workshops are run on a Toyota EcoDriving simulator and training is provided by a network of experts from the company’s non-profit partner. EcoDriving is promoted at events and in different workshops for interested groups (for example, within a town, local police squad, or a company).
The Eco-Schools Environment & Innovation is a competition for schools. Each school proposes projects on the competition theme (for example, Let's Save Energy). The best projects receive a grant to implement the scheme. After implementation, a national winner is chosen. All national winners then compete for the European award.
To involve Toyota retailers, TME included it in an off-the-shelf implementation kit for retailers. The kit was trialed at 19 retailers in five countries (Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Slovenia).
The package includes:
- Activity definition
- Local NGO contacts
- Communication templates
- Standardised simulator tool (EcoDriving)
Retailers have been very enthusiastic in all countries, which has lead to:
- A further roll-out of retailer involvement in EcoDriving and Eco-Schools across Europe
- Retailers asking for repeat activity
- Retailers creating a connection with local stakeholders
- The promotion and development of the activities of non-profit organisations
Toyota is currently optimising the project contents and packages for a European-wide roll-out over the coming years.
The remaining challenges in the retailer network are to:
- Involve all countries and 50% of the retailer network by 2015 (1,500 retailers)
- Fine-tune the activity package, in cooperation with our non-profit partners, to maximise local relevance
- Create a best practice exchange community on each project for participating retailers
- The Sustainable Retailer program has led to 10% average reduction in energy use at participating retailers.
- Company values and community projects have been shared across the network - including independent SME partners like the Toyota Retailers
Retailers have established a closer relationship with local stakeholders, becoming:
- EcoDriving champions creating a connection to local stakeholders on the topic of EcoDriving
- A local promoter and supporter of Eco-Schools, supporting local schools financially and through retailer staff involvement.