Toyota NZ boss: More to business than making money

The head of the biggest new vehicle brand here believes companies must face up to their social responsibility


Business has wider responsibility than to simply make money at all costs and those with vested interest in New Zealand’s future should work toward climate change reductions.

Those views about corporate responsibility have been expressed by one of the higher profile national motor industry figures.

Comment from Toyota New Zealand’s chief executive, Alistair Davies, who is also the chairman of the Sustainable Business Council, has come in two stages, initially in a speech to motoring media touching on global economics followed by remarks made in respect a report to Government regarding climate change issues.

Speaking to the automotive press, in a state of the nation address that tied in to the recent launch of an updated Toyota Highlander, he said he and the Toyota company subscribed to the view that business has a wider responsibility that “just make money at all cost.”

“In a modern world, a business has got a whole bunch of stakeholders - not just shareholders,” he contested.

It also had staff, society, customers, “this whole issue of a social licence to operate” and also a responsibility to the planet and the environment.

“In essence, what this is about is that a business needs to be a citizen, a part of the world in which it exists.”

Another impetus for corporate social responsibility was that “a business has got various disciplines and capabilities that can add value to a society.”

Finally, there was also the factor of mutual dependency. “Because, the reality is that a business cannot success in a society that fails, or a planet that fails.”

He has now abetted that viewpoint with a challenge on behalf of TNZ. The brand said it wants to see all business with a vested interest in the country’s future work toward the climate change and reduction targets in greenhouse gases to meet the Paris climate commitment.

He said his Palmerston North-centred company wants to work with Government to transition to a low carbon economy.

Toyota, which dominates the new car and commercial vehicle market, has cited a report by Vivid Economics, commissioned by the cross-parliamentary GLOBE (global legislators of a balanced environment). This has outlined, Davis said, a set of pathways that could lead NZ to a net zero emissions outcome by 2050.

He said Toyota welcomes the Vivid report as a conversation starter about what need to be done to meet the Paris commitment. He encouraged Government to continue collaborating with business and civil society.

Initial comment on this subject was made as Toyota New Zealand also showcased one of its community-minded associations, Toyota has been a long-term supporter of The Parenting Place, a family skills’ facilitator whose expertise has flavoured the recently-launched Toyota Family Journeys campaign. TNZ believes the organisation’s tips, tools and inspiration it thinks can be beneficial to Kiwi parents can also merge into an effective automotive advertising effort.