Toyota and BirdLife Partner Up for Conservation of Red List Species

Representatives of Toyota South Africa and BirdLife South Africa solidified their partnership at a vehicle handover ceremony held at the BirdLife headquarters in Johannesburg last week. Two vehicles, a Hilux Double Cab and a Prius Hybrid, were supplied to BirdLife for the purpose of enabling critical biodiversity preservation efforts.

The Hilux, which was the first of the two vehicles supplied to BirdLife, forms part of a five-year global partnership established between Toyota Motor Corporation (Japan) and BirdLife International, which was initiated in 2016 to facilitate conservation work for threatened species. Under the global BirdLife partnership, Toyota Motor Corporation has committed to donate ten vehicles to BirdLife partners over a five-year period. The first two vehicles for the programme were supplied to Pronatura Sur (a Mexican organisation involved in flora, fauna, and priority ecosystem conservation), and to BirdLife South Africa in 2016.

BirdLife and its partners were identified by Toyota Motor Corporation as important role players under the banner of its broader relationship with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to significantly increase knowledge on the extinction risk of more than 28 000 species. These Red List species include a number of species that are key food sources for a significant portion of the global population.

To supplement the global Toyota-BirdLife association, Toyota South Africa has furthermore formed a relationship with BirdLife South Africa, and as part of this, a sponsorship agreement was structured for a second vehicle, the Prius Hybrid. Toyota South Africa recognises BirdLife South Africa as a key partner in achieving the sustainability goals the company has set out for itself.

“Environmental protection for Toyota as an organisation extends far beyond just CO2 and emissions reductions. Biodiversity protection is equally important for humans and nature to coexist in the future,” commented Kerry Roodt, General Manager of Marketing Communications at Toyota South Africa. “We share the same vision as BirdLife South Africa: to see a country and region where nature and people live in greater harmony, more equitably, and sustainably. Our partnership and projects like the IUCN Red List Protection are the most effective ways for a company like ours to make a positive impact and raise awareness among our employees, customers, and stakeholders of the importance of sustainable resource management.”

The Toyota Birdlife partnership is amongst the first wave of projects for species preservation to be implemented under the company’s scheme to reduce the environmental impact of automobiles, the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050. In 2016 alone, the company provided grants amounting to approximately US$ 1.2 million towards Red List species protection related projects.

The partnership with BirdLife supports the sixth pillar of Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050, which is to Establish a Future Society in Harmony with Nature and also Toyota Motor Corporation’s plans to globalise its long-running environmental grant program, and to create environmental preservation projects in collaboration with organizations that engage in such activities on a global scale.