SP Emerging Professional Spotlight: Becky Martin
Suppliers Partnership for the Environment’s Emerging Professionals Work Group (SP EP) members are working to cultivate their current work environments into sustainable and inclusive communities, adopting the mindset of ‘No action is too small’, while promoting sustainability in all business operations.
Our Suppliers Partnership for the Environment (SP) Emerging Professional spotlight series is intended to highlight the voices of individual emerging professionals within the SP community that are driving initiatives to promote sustainability within their companies, and beyond. This month, we are pleased to welcome SP member Becky Martin with Toyota Motor North America in Plano, Texas.
What inspired you to work on sustainability? What is your favorite part of your current role?
When I started my career, I never dreamed that I would work in Sustainability. Now, I can’t imagine working in any other field. I started my career working in Finance and thought I would spend my whole career there. Then, the financial crisis hit and I went to graduate school to pursue dual degrees in Business and Natural Resources. My love for Sustainability developed in international development projects and internships that I did focused on sustainable agriculture, clean energy and education. I found fulfillment in working on projects that improve the environment and people’s quality of life. My favorite part of my current role is working on a wide variety of sustainability topics – renewable energy, biodiversity and communications – with a team of people that I really enjoy.
What is one sustainability project you have been involved in that you are most proud of or found the most interesting?
The most interesting project I have been involved in is procuring renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint of our operations in North America. We have several large manufacturing sites in states that are the largest coal producers in the country. So, we are executing renewable energy deals to encourage the transition to a clean economy in those places. Not only do these deals make economic sense for Toyota, they create jobs in economically depressed areas and generate millions of dollars of spending in the local community. This year, we signed a wind farm deal in West Virginia that will more than offset the carbon footprint of our powertrain manufacturing plant in the state and have a positive impact on the local economy.
What have your favorite campaigns been on Drive (SP EP’s digital sustainability engagement platform) and what actions are you taking to support those campaigns?
My favorite campaign on Drive currently is Fight for Environmental Justice. This campaign is pertinent to the social injustice issues our country is experiencing right now. At Toyota, we are thinking about how we can improve environmental justice (EJ) in our operational communities. For instance, we are working on a project in the Port of Long Beach in California to power our logistics facility and light and heavy-duty vehicles with 100% renewable hydrogen. This project has the potential to improve air quality in Long Beach where the air quality is some of the worst in the nation. We are interested in finding partners involved in EJ in the community and working with them to address EJ issues.
What sustainability trends / innovations are you most excited about right now? What industry environmental sustainability initiatives are you most interested in exploring next?
I am interested in developing biodiversity indicators in partnership with an NGO third party to measure the impact of our initiatives. We have several Wildlife Habitat Council certifications and are involved in protecting pollinators and other species. However, we don’t have a great way to measure our impact yet. With the tremendous loss that is occurring in biodiversity, it is important that we identify metrics for our projects that will have a significant impact on improving biodiversity in North America.
What advice would you have for other emerging professionals seeking to promote sustainability initiatives within their company?
I like the advice that Sho gave in the last Emerging Professional Spotlight about considering the three pillars of any environmental project – economic, environmental and social. As sustainability professionals, we are passionate about achieving environmental and social impacts. However, there has to be a business case for our projects. When seeking approvals for projects and collaborating with other divisions, the biggest concern from others will be the business case. The environmental and social impacts are icing on the cake. By identifying environmental projects with favorable economics, we will be more successful in building a more sustainable world.