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Sustainability Spotlight

5 minutes to read

Last month, Toyota Material Handling were delighted to launch the 2023 ESG report. We are committed to a carbon free future, that’s why we have complied with the EU’s ESRS framework ahead of time – allowing us to identify gaps in our sustainability communications early on. In our sixth annual report, available here, we’ve set new and ambitious targets to challenge ourselves to remain a sustainability frontrunner in our industry.

To coincide with the launch of the report, we sat down with our UK Sustainability Lead, Richard Lewis, to understand more about his career journey and what Toyota Material Handling UK are doing to embrace decarbonisation across our organisation.

This is the first in our series of colleague spotlight articles, highlighting the talent and passion we have in our business for all aspects of the material handling industry.


When did you start working at Toyota, and what did you do before?

I started working for Toyota in 2012 as a Hand Pallet Truck Specialist, most definitely the best way to learn about the business from the ground up. Before that I spent 23 years in the Royal Air Force, 14 of which was on EOD (bomb disposal) a very interesting and unique role for sure.

What made you want to join the business?

The name Toyota is one synonymous with quality. After leaving the RAF I worked for a small company who really did not have the values which Toyota stand by. After the quality of the RAF I guess I was looking for an organisation with similar attributes and our core values fit right into that.

What are you responsible for here at TMHUK?

Wow, where to start. Primarily I am the contact point for sustainability, we have increasing demands from our customers for information for example, as well as it being pivotal in gathering new business. There is a lot of data collection around energy and waste etc. By analysing this data, we can look to where we can make improvements. I am also a Functional Champion for TMHE which means I am part of the SBTi team (science-based targets initiatives), where we set and measure emission reduction targets across the business. In addition to this, I support other MSCOs with any issues. Here in the UK, we are ahead of the curve in most respects. I guess ultimately my role is to help deliver TICO’s 2050 vision - helping Toyota make the world a better place.

What’s your favourite thing about your role?

The variety and the people. No two days are the same and I have the pleasure to work with so many wonderful and passionate team members.

What can we expect in the next 12 months from you and your team?

We have been working hard on a solar energy project for a few years now and are nearing the point of having the solar panels installed over the next 12 months. We’re also going to install more charging points in business centres as we look to transition to electric vehicles across our fleet.

Tell us something about you that might surprise people.

I am a qualified Volleyball Referee (despite never playing the sport competitively) and I play sitting Volleyball, an all-inclusive sport where we invite people with physical and mental challenges to get involved and have fun as well as competing at national level. I also do beer reviews (these are definitely not serious!).

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