Celebrating Earth Month: Toyota’s Environmental Employees Share How Their Efforts Help Drive the Company Forward

Celebrating Earth Month: Toyota’s Environmental Employees Share How Their Efforts Help Drive the Company Forward

Read More

Passion is what fuels many people’s careers. For some employees who are contributing to Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) ongoing environmental efforts, it’s been the driving force.

“I have always been fascinated by the outdoors and environmental issues,” says Colin Boswell, a manager of emissions compliance strategy and enterprise strategy at TMNA. “I pursued researching air quality’s effects on human health during college and then, prior to Toyota, worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

For many who work in environmental roles at Toyota, it’s not just a job — it’s part of their life’s work.

That sort of dedication complements TMNA’s commitment to helping the planet with a focus on four key areas: carbon, water, materials, and biodiversity. Together, it provides a workplace environment where fresh ideas, ingenuity, and innovation flourish to create a more sustainable future.

When Passion and Purpose Collide 
When Boswell had the opportunity to work at TMNA, he was instantly drawn to the company’s corporate atmosphere and the environmental priorities and goals.

“I was excited by the prospect of leveraging my expertise and enthusiasm to contribute to Toyota’s environmental leadership and direction,” he says.

Boswell’s work over the past seven years has supported and further driven TMNA’s environmental efforts, particularly on the carbon priority issue.

“We lead development for Toyota’s strategy to comply with many different environmental regulations our vehicles face, including greenhouse gas and zero-emissions vehicle regulations,” he says. “We work closely with multiple different areas of the company to make sure our product plan is optimized to meet the requirements we face while balancing the needs of our customers.”

Like Boswell, Nikki Tanzer’s passion for environmental efforts started long before she joined Toyota Texas (TMMTX).

“My love for conservation came from books I read as I was growing up,” says Tanzer, a senior environmental specialist. “My ‘dreams’ were about the great scientists and researchers in Africa. I had a fascination for seeing the African bush.”

Today, Tanzer plays a key role helping to address the company’s four priority issues and striving to decrease its environmental impact while promoting sustainability throughout the organization.

“A typical day for me includes managing water permits, overseeing the ISO 14001 management system and coordinating wildlife habitat projects,” she says. “I also provide support for the day-to-day operations of these activities to ensure compliance and sustainability objectives are achieved.”

In addition to her responsibilities, Tanzer is also the chairperson of the TMMTX chapter of Toyota Environmental Resources for Responsible Actions (TERRA), a business partnering group (BPG) that focuses on environmental activities. She’s also the lead person for TMMTX’s Harmony with Nature Wildlife Habitat Conservation projects, as well as for the group’s Earth Month activities.

“I am proud to be a part of a company that prioritizes sustainability and environmental stewardship,” says Tanzer, who’s worked at Toyota for 11 years. “Toyota’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainability aligns perfectly with my own values and beliefs. I am excited to be able to contribute to these efforts and help ensure that our operations meet all necessary environmental compliance requirements.”

Sparking Innovative Thinking
While some TMNA employees working on environmental teams have had a passion for environmental efforts since childhood, others developed an affinity for green initiatives more recently.

“My interest in environmental work really started when I had the opportunity to become the product planner for Prius about 9 years ago,” says Barbie Liang, a business development manager, electric vehicle charging solutions at TMNA.

Liang enjoyed sharing the benefits of the fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle and how she didn’t need to change her driving habits at all.

“It has become my mission to educate anyone willing to listen how the transition to alternative-fuel vehicles can fit into their daily life,” says Liang, who’s worked at TMNA for 13 years.

Educating and enlightening people on eco-conscious advancements makes her job meaningful, says Liang.

“As a part of my role, I have the opportunity to help support initiatives tied to Toyota’s ‘Empact’ vision in which we are working to address [electric vehicle] charging equity in underserved communities,” she says.

And her zeal for education doesn’t stop there. For Earth Month, Liang taught her two young sons about where their food comes from.

“The impact their food sources have on the environment is important to me and my family,” Liang says. “We are a big gardening family and have plans to celebrate Earth Month by refreshing our garden beds.”

Merging Nature and Manufacturing 
Although Lisa Chiffolo, an environmental engineer at TMNA, has been a self-proclaimed longtime “tree hugger,” the eight-year TMNA veteran never imagined that her enthusiasm for the environment would contribute to her current position at the company.

“I honestly never anticipated being fortunate enough to secure a role that provided such an opportunity each day,” she says.

Chiffolo’s main role focuses on carbon and materials improvements and biodiversity enhancements. She’s also the founder of the TERRA Georgetown, Kentucky, chapter and currently serves as the communications chair.

“Creating spaces for people to experience and enjoy nature, especially through youth outreach, is the most gratifying aspect of my job,” Chiffolo says. “I have been most impacted by individuals who tell me stories of how their first field trip to a nature trail was on Toyota property and now they come back with their families to experience the landscape.”

Proud Stewards for the Planet
TMNA’s ongoing efforts of creating a positive impact on the planet, society and their business is what makes some employees on the environmental teams thrilled to lend their expertise and varying skill sets.

“When I look at how Toyota approaches the challenge of reducing carbon emissions, I am proud of how impactful Toyota is in using multiple vehicle technologies to impact carbon reductions while also being able to provide our customers with choices to fit their varying needs,” says Boswell.

Tanzer adds, “I take pride in being part of a company that is working with others on some of the negative impact on the environment. Together, we can make a positive impact on our planet and work towards a more sustainable future.”

Originally published April 30, 2024

Email Sign Up

Enter your email address below to sign up for email alerts.

*Indicates Required