Story | 24 May, 2017

Highlighting the importance of private sector engagement in biodiversity conservation

To highlight the importance of private sector engagement in biodiversity conservation and to raise awareness on the species extinction crisis, IUCN and Toyota Motor Corporation have jointly organised a partnership event 'THE ROAD AHEAD: TOYOTA and THE IUCN RED LIST OF THREATENED SPECIES - The power of private sector engagement for biodiversity conservation' on 23 May at the Hilton Hotel in Bangkok.


Organised in conjunction with a five-day reptile workshop which brought together top experts from all over the world to conduct more thorough and more rigorous research into the biodiversity of the Asian region, the reception was held to mark IUCN’s and Toyota’s five-year partnership to broaden the scope of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

In 2016 alone, Toyota provided approximately US$1.2 million to IUCN, with the aim of broadening the scope of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This new knowledge will provide a roadmap to guide conservation - concrete action which could positively affect the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The collaboration is also in line with Toyota’s ‘Environmental Challenge 2050,’ which aims to reduce the negative impacts associated with automobiles to as close to zero as possible, whilst simultaneously making positive impacts on society.

IUCN’s flagship knowledge product The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is the world’s most comprehensive and trusted resource on the status of the world’s biodiversity. The goal of The IUCN Red List is to provide information and analyses on the status, trends and threats to species in order to inform and catalyse action for biodiversity conservation – protecting the natural resources that we rely on for survival.  

Since it was conceptualized in 1964, more than 85,600 species have been assessed. Out of these assessed species, 24,300 have been classified as threatened.

The event in Thailand is the third in a series of THE ROAD AHEAD: IUCN and TOYOTA RED LIST OF THREATENED SPECIES events – the first two were held in Hawai’i and Mexico.

“While saving species from extinction is a collective responsibility that has traditionally been led by governments and NGOs, the private sector has become increasingly involved. Toyota for example has stepped up by being the first private sector entity to provide significant  support to the IUCN Red List in becoming a more complete “Barometer of Life,” says Dr. Jane Smart, Global Director of IUCN's Biodiversity Conservation Group and Director of IUCN's Global Species Programme.

Dr Jane Smart at the Toyota IUCN Red List event       Photo: © Siriporn Sriaram

At the regional level, IUCN has been collaborating with the private sector for over two decades now to conserve biodiversity. In the Indo-Burma region, IUCN has been working with the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund to provide funding and technical support to nongovernmental and private sector organisations to work towards conserving globally threatened species, priority sites and conservation corridors.

In addition to the partnership with IUCN, Toyota has been supporting initiatives globally related to biodiversity conservation. In line with this, Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT) has been promoting awareness and the need for conservation in Thailand through its 'Toyota Green Town' project. One of the highlights of this project is the establishment of a Biodiversity and Sustainability Learning Centre. The learning centre is known as 'Cheewa Panavet' which is a combination of three Thai words, Cheewa (life), Pana (forest), and Vet (habitat). The centre consists of Eco Forest and Biotope which spans 96,000m2 in Toyota Banpho Plant and welcomes more than 15,000 students to learn about different types of ecosystems per year.

Mr. Ninnart Chaithirapinyo, Chairman of Toyota Motor Thailand commented, “The successful collaboration between Toyota and IUCN is a big step towards disseminating crucial information on threatened species and the importance of biodiversity. I hope this event will contribute towards raising awareness on the environment for the people of Thailand. Toyota Motor Thailand will continue to pursue its environmental activities to conserve biodiversity under the 'Toyota Green Town' project.”

The event was attended by representatives from the private sector, civil society organizations, government agencies and the media, and graced by Dr. Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; Dr. Jane Smart, Global Director of IUCN's Biodiversity Conservation Group and Director of IUCN's Global Species Programme; Ms. Aban Market Kabraji, Regional Director for IUCN Asia; Mr. Ninnart Chaithirapinyo, Chairman of Toyota Motor Thailand; and Mr. Wichien Emprasertsuk, Executive Vice President of Toyota Daihatsu Engineering & Manufacturing.

To view more images from the event please click here.