Green Is Good

Business Week: Can a car company really be called green? Sure, the notion may seem far-fetched. But if anyone can, it might be Toyota. The Japanese auto maker has gotten great mileage lately out of its Prius gasoline/electric hybrid. Toyota has sold over 400,000 of these fuel-sippers and is now expanding its hybrid lineup by at least 10 other vehicles.
Less well known are Toyota’s efforts to reduce emissions from smokestacks as well as tailpipes. In the past 15 years, Toyota has cut its carbon-dioxide emissions in Japan to 1.78 million tons annually, from 2.12 million tons, while globally, C02 emissions per car produced are down 15% since 2002.
Yet, plenty of people question Toyota’s green credentials. In October, Bluewater Network, an environmental group, launched an ad depicting Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe as a wolf in a sheep costume. The group complains that Toyota’s hybrids don’t have much better fuel economy than regular gasoline engines and that Toyota’s fuel economy per vehicle has worsened as the company has increased the proportion of larger vehicles it sells in the U.S. Toyota has also received brickbats for opposing — along with Detroit auto makers — tougher fuel-economy standards in the U.S.
And while Toyota may be a leader in cutting emissions from production, it still has plenty of room for improvement. In fact, even as Toyota’s CO2 emissions have fallen in Japan, they’ve climbed worldwide as Toyota makes more cars. Last year it emitted 6.4 million tons of CO2 equivalent, up from 5.9 million tons in 2001.
[via Jalopnik]

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.