Solar panels installed at Toyota Material Handling Manufacturing Italy (Bologna factory) saving 370 tonnes of CO2 per year

Toyota Material Handling Europe moves towards net-zero future with 100% renewable electricity

In the run-up to World Environment Day, Toyota Material Handling Europe has confirmed that it uses 100% renewable electricity in its European operations as of April 1 2021. The switch involves every single one of the organisation’s European entities and represents a significant advancement towards its ambitious sustainability goals. On its own, it achieves 15% of the required progress towards the 2030 target of net zero emissions from operations.

Toyota Material Handling Europe has announced that all its operations across Europe now source 100% of their electricity renewably, with no associated CO2 emissions.

This transition was finalised as of April 1 2021, but is the result of continuous efforts since 2018, since when Toyota Material Handling Europe has steadily grown its proportion of electricity that comes from renewable sources. It covers all entities and locations: five factories, 21 national sales companies, three head office facilities in Sweden, and several warehouses.

This is the single highest-impact project Toyota Material Handling Europe has completed on its road to net zero emissions so far. When it started tracking sustainability data in 2012, it calculated that CO2 emissions from electricity represented 15% of its total emissions.

“Switching to 100% renewable electricity is a major milestone on our sustainability journey,” said Ernesto Domínguez, President and CEO Toyota Material Handling Europe, speaking ahead of World Environment Day on June 5. “As well as setting targets for the future, it’s equally important that we take environmental action now. Switching to renewable electricity is a concrete achievement that makes a measurable difference and helps secure our status as the partner of choice for customers who are committed to reaching zero emissions.”

How was the switch achieved?

Renewable electricity is certified through the issue and purchase of Guarantees of Origin (GOs), which track units of energy produced from sustainable sources. Each GO receives a unique number and is then cancelled on a central registry when the corresponding amount of electricity is bought and used – thereby avoiding ‘double counting’ of GOs and ensuring each one makes a real contribution to the renewable energy market.

Toyota Material Handling Europe breaks down its 100% renewable electricity usage into three categories:

  • 95% is obtained by working with local electricity providers through renewable electricity contracts. The providers supply proof that they cancel GOs equivalent to the amount of electricity that is bought.
  • Toyota Material Handling Europe will buy and cancel GOs via brokers separate from electricity providers to account for a residual 4% where local solutions aren’t available.
  • The final 1% of electricity is generated by on-site solar panels at various European facilities.

Sustainable principles in practice

Sustainability is at the heart of Toyota Material Handling Europe’s corporate culture and priorities. Switching to renewable electricity is one of more than 200 projects it is currently investing in to drive energy-efficiency and reduce emissions. Together, these projects have enabled the entire European organisation to reduce its CO2 emissions by 29% since 2012. The energy programme enabled a 10% reduction in energy spend, contributing to both environmental and financial sustainability.

Other major contributing factors include a company programme to achieve ISO 50001 certification in all entities by 2025, and the establishment of the first zero-emissions factory in the sector, which was completed in 2020 a decade ahead of schedule. The facility in Mjölby, Sweden, is powered by renewable electricity, district heating and liquid biogas, making it zero-carbon in terms of both on-site activities and the energy it sources from suppliers. By achieving this, it sets an example of new, future-proofed production systems that make sustainability and commercial growth one and the same.

The next milestones on Toyota Material Handling Europe’s sustainability journey include completing the certification of energy management systems across all entities and working closely with customers and suppliers to support each other in reducing emissions and building net-zero supply chains. We encourage all our business partners to join Toyota Material Handling Europe in making the switch to 100% renewable electricity.

Photo: Solar panels installed at Toyota Material Handling Manufacturing Italy (Bologna factory) saving 370 tonnes of CO2 per year.

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