IUCN-Toyota partnership delivers new knowledge for biodiversity and food security

The extinction threat to wild cereals, fruit-bearing plants and other ‘wild crop relative’ species was assessed for the first time for the latest IUCN Red List update, as part of a partnership between IUCN and Toyota Motor Corporation. The partnership, which was presented at the Convention on Biological Diversity 13th Conference of the Parties (CBD COP13) in Cancun, Mexico, aims to extend the Red List to species that are critical to global food security, supporting the delivery of biodiversity conservation targets central to the conference.

Helianthus exilis Photo: © David A. Hofmann

Serpentine sunflower (Helianthus exilis) 

The work also aims to further progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially the goal to end hunger and achieve food security. 

Announced in May 2016, the five-year partnership between IUCN and Toyota is already delivering knowledge that will guide conservation action which could improve the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Toyota’s support for the IUCN Red List is the first project to conserve species to be implemented under the company’s scheme to reduce the environmental impact of automobiles, the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050.

The Challenge addresses biodiversity conservation together with climate change. It aims to reduce the negative impacts associated with automobiles to close to zero, Toyota representatives explained during the CBD side event.

“IUCN applauds the Toyota Environmental Challenge and its vision of a society in harmony with nature, which should serve to inspire action across the business community. Toyota’s support for the IUCN Red List is already improving our knowledge of threats to species critical to human well-being,” says Jane Smart, Global Director, IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group.

The event confirmed an urgent need for improved understanding of species extinction risks, including wild relatives of crops and freshwater and marine fish, and for accelerated private investment in biodiversity knowledge.   

“Toyota wants to create a net positive impact on biodiversity while making a positive contribution to society. With our planet experiencing extinctions at the fastest rate in its history, IUCN and Toyota believe that there has never been a greater need to understand the current status of the species upon which our survival depends,” says Kevin Butt, General Manager, Regional Environmental Sustainability Director, Toyota Motor Corporation North America.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of wild species. It now includes 85,604 species assessed, 24,307 of them threatened with extinction.

Toyota’s work with the IUCN Red List was presented at a side event at the CBD COP13, organised by Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and IUCN in partnership with BirdLife International (BL) and Conservation International (CI). The event served to discuss how improved biodiversity knowledge including species, which are crucial to food security, supported the delivery of several Aichi targets and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly the Zero Hunger Goal during the CBD COP 13. 

The event’s on-demand webcast service is now available for viewing on the CBD website

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