Toyota Partners with IUCN for Research on Threatened Species
Toyota Motor Corporation today announced a five-year partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to expand the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. And by expand the list of threatened species, no, we don’t mean try to kill off enough zebras to get them added to the list of endangered species, but instead to expand the scope of IUCN’s research, so it can analyze an additional 28,000 species to determine their extinction risk.
Many of the 28,000+ species that will be added to the list via Toyota’s involvement are key food sources to the global population, species upon which we humans depend for our survival. Toyota believes researching and analyzing these potentially endangered species is important, as we are currently experiencing the fastest extinction rate our planet has ever seen. Some of the analyzed species will include wild rice and wheat, which are imperative to our food security, as well as marine fish that feed large parts of the population and keep 200 million people in fishing-related jobs around the world.
Through Toyota’s partnership with IUCN, we will gain information about these species so that we can come up with concrete plans to preserve them. This marks Toyota’s first species preservation project implemented under its new initiative to reduce environmental impact of its cars: the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050.
The Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, implemented last year, seeks to get the negative impacts of automobiles as close to zero as possible by 2050. The program also looks for positive ways that Toyota can impact the environment. Preserving crucial plants and animals is a part of that process. In 2016, Toyota will grant $1.2 million toward the IUCN research.
“The Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 addresses not only climate change, but also biodiversity. They are two sides of the same coin which can’t be dealt with separately,” remarked Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General. “This generous grant from Toyota will enable our Red List researchers to take a big leap towards reaching our goal of assessing 160,000 species by 2020. This would also help IUCN’s work in supporting the implementation of the Sustainability Development Goals adopted last year by all the members of the United Nations, particularly the Zero Hunger goal.”
So far, the IUCN Red List has assessed 79,837 species. More than 23,000 of those have been determined to be in danger of extinction, which has allowed researchers to develop plans to stop that from happening.
Didier Leroy, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation, concluded, “When tackling threats to the global environment, it is important to act early and boldly with concrete steps that will make a difference in people’s lives. We did it in 1997 with Prius, and more recently with the hydrogen fuel cell Mirai. But protecting the environment is not just about CO2 and emissions: biodiversity is equally important to human lives. By entering this partnership with IUCN, we are very proud to take an additional step toward the challenge of establishing a future society in harmony with nature.”