Toyota Engineers a New Plant: the Living Kind

Topic: Management Improvement

Toyota Engineers…a Shrub

Toyota Motor Corp has developed a derivative of the Cherry Sage shrub that is optimized for absorbing pollutants from the air.

It seems Toyota is dominating the management improvement news in the same way Google is dominating the rest of the business news. It seems like Toyota is mentioned positively nearly as much as other companies combined on the management blogs that I read most often. And I am contributing to that. I doubt I would bother to write about this if it were most other companies. But then other companies don’t have letter signed by the President like the one I quote below.

And this seems to be another small example of Toyota’s vision, see our previous post on Toyota as Homebuilder and Biotechnology researcher.

Toyota’s web site includes an environmental and social report [I removed the broken link] stating Toyota’s vision:

it is essential that we continue to live by our guiding principles and to evolve with the times. This requires that we do three things.

First, making things that benefit both people and the world as a whole.

Second, as a member of society, we must fulfill our responsibilities to all stakeholders. We must provide to customers cleaner, safer, and more attractive products with excellent value. To shareholders, we must enhance share value through long-term and stable growth by increasing profits and paying appropriate dividends. With business partners, we must engage in fair business based on a spirit of mutual benefit.

To our employees, we must provide a workplace where they can work with pride based on mutual trust and responsibility between labor and management, and respect for people. And to local and global communities, we must continue to act as a good corporate citizen by engaging in activities that contribute to economic development and employment as well as engaging in environmental and philanthropic activities.

Third, we must develop the human resources and create a positive business culture to carry out these activities. I believe that steady personal development of human resources fosters good work skills and work ethic, and this in turn creates a good corporate business culture, which must be supported and maintained by the development of proper structures.

I look forward to receiving your honest comments and opinions concerning this report.

Katsuaki Watanabe
President, Toyota Motor Corporation
July 2005

What a great sentiment (see our previous post on the Purpose of an Organization). Many organizations talk a good game (like many countries have constitutions that look great on paper) but one of the many things that separates companies like Toyota is that they actually execute based on their expressed vision.

Still, as some of the comments on the original blog post mention engineer plants and related human activity has risks – the Invasive Species Weblog points to some of the risks. Balance is needed as we, as a global society, innovate to assure we do not cause more problems than benefits.

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