In 2016, The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced a five-year partnership to expand knowledge of threats to global biodiversity through broadening the scope of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This will significantly increase knowledge on the extinction risk of more than 28,000 species, including many that are key food sources for a significant portion of the global population. Crucially, the partnership with Toyota will deliver new IUCN Red List assessments of species distributed across the globe, from freshwater to marine, forest to grassland, and many other habitats. It is not constrained by national boundaries and is filling crucial gaps in The IUCN Red List data for a range of species, including mushrooms, spiders, lizards, sardines and trees.
Toyota’s support for the IUCN Red List is the first species conservation project to be implemented under the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, which aims to reduce the negative impacts associated with automobiles to zero to beyond, whilst simultaneously making positive impacts on society.
Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General says “The IUCN-Toyota Partnership is providing a major boost to the IUCN Red List and to nature and livelihoods by extension. By helping deliver new assessments of a variety of species, the funds will be helping experts pinpoint the most critical areas of intervention and where the impacts of conservation action can be greatest. And by supporting the development of the new IUCN Red List website it is helping in the vital task of making extensive, complex data available to all who need it for decision making, advocacy and day-to-day work. We are extremely grateful to Toyota for this support and we look forward to using the results of our partnership to help shape the global post-2020 biodiversity framework.”
Didier Leroy, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Corporation says “When tackling threats to the global environment, it is important to act early and boldly with concrete steps that will make a difference in people’s lives. We did it in 1997 with Prius, and more recently with the hydrogen fuel cell Mirai. But protecting the environment is not just about CO2 and emissions: biodiversity is equally important to human lives. By entering this partnership with IUCN, we are very proud to take an additional step toward the challenge of establishing a future society in harmony with nature.”
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of wild species and their links to livelihoods. The goal of The IUCN Red List is to catalyse action for biodiversity conservation by providing information and analysis on the world’s species, including threats, population status and trends. Many species on The IUCN Red List have been saved from extinction through conservation actions based on the information in The IUCN Red List and the global to national awareness that a threatened Red List status generates for a species.
There are three main components to the partnership. Firstly, it supports the IUCN’s global target of publishing 160,000 species on The IUCN Red List. This target is known as ‘Barometer of Life’ and is a representative sample of life on Earth, allowing IUCN to communicate on the state of the world’s nature. The partnership is delivering approximately half of the 70,000 species that need to be assessed to reach The Barometer of Life by 2020. Achieving this target will help IUCNs work in supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by all the members of the United Nations, particularly the Zero Hunger goal. It will provide greater knowledge and support at the national level to enhance species conservation action, thereby contributing to the achievement of not only Aichi Target 12 on preventing extinctions but also Aichi Target 1, on raising awareness from now, until the end of the decade and also post-2020. It is also a vital component of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 that addresses biodiversity, climate change, and resource and water recycling.
The partnership will also deliver a new web-based platform that will enhance the use and take-up of The IUCN Red List for a modern user community. The new platform was launched in beta version in September 2018 and became fully operational in November 2018.
The increased use and improved functionality that is expected from the new platform will increase the understanding of the information on The IUCN Red List by a range of users, in turn leading to an increase in uptake, application and influence. This will help deliver an additional goal of the partnership which is to foster a greater understanding of biodiversity conservation through The IUCN Red List.
The private sector has a key role to play in supporting IUCN, and others, to reverse the decline in biodiversity. This partnership demonstrates the important leadership role that Toyota is playing in this regard.