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Go to this month’s Tracker on page 32 for a full list of companies that have recently issued sustainability

Car manufacturer Toyota has achieved record sales of its hybrid vehicles, which it sees as crucial to the company’s future

Named as the nation’s best small hotel, The Greenhouse Hotel in Dorset takes its environmental responsibilities seriously

New for the family market: the five-seater Toyota Prius V

It was the first out of the blocks in develop- ing hybrid vehicles – and now Toyota seems to be reaping the benefits.

The car manufacturer has reported record European sales of its hybrid vehi- cles, allowing it to ramp up its efforts to develop greener, more efficient models. The European arm of the company sold more hybrid vehicles than ever in 2010, despite the fallout of the recession causing prob- lems for the automobile sector. More than 70,500 were shifted – up 29% from 2009. There was huge demand for the Auris Hybrid car (15,237 sold), which is made in Derby and emits 89g of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The target is to sell around 30,000 units this year.

Crucial to the company is the fact that more and more customers no longer regard green cars as a niche; so much so that Toyota now sees hybrid vehicles as the backbone of its future vehicle development programme.

By 2020, the Japanese company will launch hybrid versions of every one of its models. And it will start selling plug-in hybrids and all-electric models next year, while the launch of hydrogen fuel cell vehi- cles will come in 2015.

Toyota recently unveiled the Prius V, a five-seater car aimed at the family market.

18 | Sustainable Business | February 2011

It is a version of the classic gas-electric model, with almost 60% more cargo room. According to the company, the launch is a direct response to customer feedback. “Consumers have told Toyota that they love the idea of the Prius – high fuel-effi- ciency, low emissions, advanced technol- ogy – but the vehicle selling today doesn’t fit their lifestyle and needs,” says Doug Coleman, Toyota’s product manager. This could be the answer, with all the versatility and comfort of a family hauler, while deliv- ering city mileage of 42mpg and motorway economy of 38mpg.

And there is also the smaller Prius C Concept, designed for city drivers. These models are likely to land in Europe soon, but the company is keen to build on its reputation on home soil too. It has pledged to work with 12 other Japanese car manufacturers and fuel cells suppliers to support the national roll-out of fuel cell vehicles (FCV) in Japan, beginning in 2015. Companies, including Nissan and Honda, are working hard to dramatically cut the costs of manufacturing fuel-cell cars ahead of their widespread adoption in Japan. It is thought that 100 hydrogen fuelling stations will be built in Tokyo, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Osaka by that time.

It has just picked up the trophy for Best Small Hotel of the Year and deserves an entry in this month’s Leaders. The Greenhouse Hotel, an eco-chic boutique hotel in Bournemouth, claims to be the “greenest hotel in the UK”that “lives and breathes sustainability”. It is a bold statement, but one that doesn’t tend to dis- solve when you scratch the surface. The usual things are taken care of: energy efficient lighting and the guests are asked to reuse their towels. But, as the owners recognise, “these things alone won’t change the world”. And so, over the past four years, the hotel has initiated a number of things to prove it is taking the agenda seriously. The building itself uses the sun to heat the water and a lot of the electricity used is gen- erated by an on-site CHP unit.

Each of the 32 rooms is fitted with locally- made 100% wool carpets. The solid wood furniture has been made in the UK, using trees felled by storms or tree surgeons. Where there’s wallpaper, it is Forest Stewardship Council-certified and made in the UK using vegetable inks. Where there isn’t, you’ll find Farrow & Ball eco paint.

The company car runs on the cooking oil that has been used in the kitchen. If you eat at the brasserie, you’ll find local, fresh, organic food sourced from producers with high animal welfare standards.

In the bar there’s locally-brewed beer and spirits – and the wine list has been carefully chosen taking into account the carbon foot- print of every bottle.

A triumph of eco-chic: The Greenhouse Hotel in Bournemouth, Dorset

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