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Toyota’s ‘impossible’ takes root at the coastline

By Tessa R. Salazar Philippine Daily Inquirer October 02,2019
Toyota's 'impossible' takes root at the coastline

TMP president Satoru Suzuki during the Sept 21 National Coastal Cleanup and Mangrove planting day

For Toyota Motor Philippines, Toyota’s global “Start Your Impossible” (SYI) campaign begins where the land meets the sea.

Last Sept. 21, TMP spearheaded the “National Coastal Clean Up and Mangrove Planting Day” in support of its SYI Hero Ernie Gawilan’s advocacy for cleaner waters. The coastal activities, held in 35 locations nationwide, were participated in by 1,900 volunteers who planted 40,000 propagules (stem cuttings of mangrove trees) and collected 1,200 sacks of garbage. The participants included TMP officers and employees led by its president Satoru Suzuki, local government units, media partners, paralympic athletes Edwin Villanueva and Gawilan, staff of the Philippine Paralympic Committee, and representatives of Toyota dealerships. Ground zero was at the Lian Mangrove Park in Sitio Kay Reyna, Brgy. Lumaniag in Lian, Batangas.

In a statement, TMP said it supports the Philippine Paralympic Committee’s and Ernie Gawilan’s personal and athletic journey, which perfectly embodies the philosophy of the SYI campaign. “With his accomplishments in national and international swimming competitions, we believe Ernie is a perfect example of defying challenges, believing in one’s self and working hard to achieve great things. In addition to that, we also admire his efforts in pushing for an advocacy that affects many.”

Gawilan started his athletic journey through his love for the ocean, and TMP aims to help him spread awareness and encourage positive action among more Filipinos.

Planting ‘the Toyota Way’

TMP environment engineer Mark Marcelo told Inquirer Motoring that the team applied the Toyota production system to plant more propagules more efficiently.

“In the manufacturing plant, every person has a specific role. In mangrove planting, we tried to apply that, as well. We divided ourselves into transporters (the ones that conveyed the plants), then the diggers, and lastly, the planters. This system minimizes unnecessary movements and increases the survivability of the mangroves, because there will be less chances for volunteers to inadvertently step on the propagules when they move to different directions,” explained Marcelo.

The system significantly increased volunteer effectiveness. Marcelo added that when TMP first started planting mangroves in the Lian site last year, they were only able to plant 300 propagules for about 45 minutes with 60 volunteers. Using the new system last April, the team was able to plant 1,000 propagules with 80 volunteers for one hour. This September, he said that the team planted 3,700 propagules with 100 volunteers during just an hour.

“We improved that system by incorporating tools. We didn’t use shovels before. Now we also use crates (to carry propagules). Before we could only carry two propagules per transporter. Now each transporter can carry 10 to 12,” revealed Marcelo.

Explaining the significance of developing mangroves, Marcelo said:

“As part of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 that promotes reforestation and biodiversity conservation, mangroves are very important as they may be a source of livelihood for the local community, for one. Second, it protects the community from storm surges. Third, since we are producing vehicles which emit CO2, mangroves have more carbon sequestration capacity than normal trees.”

Dr. Augustus Rex Montebon, Conservation International Philippines’ marine program director, said that Conservation International’s aim has been to help in the biodiversity conservation of the Verde Island Passage, the narrow seaway between the southern coastline of Batangas and northern Mindoro.

Toyota's 'impossible' takes root at the coastline

Young employees of the Toyota Motor Philippines during the Sept. 21 National Coastal Cleanup Day and Mangrove planting

“We have this project with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR called the SMARTSeas. The aim essentially is to increase the management effectiveness of protected areas and the marine protected area network in the executive order that specifies biodiversity conservation should be implemented in the entire country, not just in the Verde Island Passage,” said Montebon.

Allow sea life to re-grow

The event also brought to the fore this writer’s meatless advocacy, as TessDrive.com initiated its own SYI campaign for the event, with food partners Quorn, an environmentally sustainable source of high-quality meat-free protein food, and Makati-based vegan restaurant Greenery Kitchen. The food providers served 100-percent plant-based dishes to the volunteers.

The vegan food campaign’s slogan is: “Keep the oceans clean and alive, go meatless for the animals and the sea creatures. Go meatless for the environment.”

“We believe that the efforts to preserve and protect the bodies of water all over the world would only be effective if all creatures who live above, on, and under water are likewise protected,” said one of the team’s crew members.

Bruce Monger, oceanography professor at Cornell University, has pointed out, “We have maxed out the ocean. Up to 90 million metric tons of fish are pulled from the ocean every year, and that hasn’t increased since the late 1990s. We can’t get any more fish out of the ocean.”

A study from the University of Exeter found out that mycoprotein, the protein-rich food source that is unique to Quorn products, stimulates post-exercise muscle building to a greater extent than milk protein. The Science Daily article revealed that the British Nutrition Foundation already recommends mycoprotein as a good source of dietary protein, both for every life and for sport and exercise.

Reduce carbon emissions

Toyota’s environment initiative is aligned with several of its programs dedicated to reducing carbon emissions by 2050. TMP recently held a Toyota Hybrid Electric Technology Conference last June to provide an avenue for government and industry stakeholders to discuss plans and to promote sustainable mobility in the country. As part of its efforts to further spread awareness on vehicle electrification and its impact on our environment, TMP has partnered with several universities in the country for the Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Campus Tour.

Just recently, TMP made a huge leap to make Hybrid Electric Technology more accessible to more Filipinos by introducing a hybrid variant of one of its mainstream, big-volume models – the Corolla Altis Hybrid.

Toyota's 'impossible' takes root at the coastline

Toyota’s Start Your Impossible hero Ernie Gawilan (wearing red) with fellow paralympic athlete Edwin Villanueva

SYI was launched in the Philippines during the Toyota Classics – a benefit classical concert in November 2018. The proceeds of the concert was donated to the country’s paralympic athletes through the PPC for their training requirements such as sports wheelchairs.

Just this May, TMP started a 10-day swim clinic that aims to encourage aspiring swimmers aged 6 to 14 to take the first step, or that first stroke, in their athletic journey, and pursue their interest in swimming. The Start Your Impossible campaign marks its first anniversary at the Tokyo Motor Show this October 2019. Toyota, being the global partner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, will also be exhibiting mobility technologies, solutions, and logistics under the SYI campaign.

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