The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Toyota Material Handling Europe promotes employee engagement

Case study: How Toyota Material Handling Europe promotes employee engagement

Active in 42 counties, Toyota Material Handling Europe is part of Toyota Industries Europe AB Group, a fully owned subsidiary of Toyota Industries Corporation, the global number one in material handling since 2001 and aiming to be the first-choice partner in Europe in the material handling business. Toyota Material Handling Europe’s ability to continue to maintain and grow its business as well as provide high-quality products to customers depends on the contributions of its people. Therefore, its ability to retain, develop and engage qualified employees throughout the organisation is essential.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Toyota Material Handling Europe published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Employee engagement is, for Toyota Material Handling Europe, key to employee attraction and retention.  Tweet This! Additionally, engaged employees are more motivated in their daily work, more productive in achieving their targets, more creative and loyal to their employer. In order to promote employee engagement Toyota Material Handling Europe took action to:

  • carry out employee performance appraisals
  • support collective bargaining
  • establish a European Works Council
  • promote volunteering

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Toyota Material Handling Europe identified a range of material issues, such as energy-efficient customer solutions, compliance, customer safety, responsible purchasing. Among these, promoting employee engagement stands out as a key material issue for Toyota Material Handling Europe.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Toyota Material Handling Europe engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Prospective employees
Toyota Industries and its group companies
Local communities
Public authorities
European Works Council

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Toyota Material Handling Europe engaged with 56 stakeholders (34 internal stakeholders including leaders and decision makers of Toyota Material Handling Europe and 22 external stakeholders  who included industry associations, a civil society agency, an external consultant, an auditor, Toyota Material Handling Europe’s owner, a daughter and sister company, academia, media, a local government representative, a worker that was not an employee, and several suppliers and customers) through surveys.

What actions were taken by Toyota Material Handling Europe to promote employee engagement?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Toyota Material Handling Europe reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee engagement:

  • Carrying out employee performance appraisals
  • In FY19, 73% of Toyota Material Handling Europe’s employees underwent an annual performance appraisal, with 15 entities already reaching the 80% appraisal target two years before the 2021 deadline: Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, Hungary, Manufacturing France, Manufacturing Sweden, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Sweden, Norway and TMHEL Antwerp. In FY19, In comparison with FY18:
    • 11 entities improved their appraisal level
    • 7 entities stayed at the same level
    • 11 entities performed less appraisals
  • Toyota Material Handling Europe aims to boost performance appraisals and make work more engaging and meaningful for all, while taking a structured approach for making change happen in its organisation.
  • Supporting collective bargaining
  • Toyota Material Handling Europe follows all legal regulations concerning collective bargaining agreements, which cover the majority of its employees (over 80%). Some countries have different arrangements according to country-specific practices, traditions and labour legislation. In any case, Toyota Material Handling Europe provides channels for all employees to engage in the company’s activities and express their opinions.
  • Establishing a European Works Council
  • The European Works Council (EWC) is, for Toyota Material Handling Europe, a partner and a vital contributor to communicate on matters affecting employees in more EU countries, addressing issues such as employee health and safety. Every year, performance against health and safety KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) is shared at Toyota Material Handling Europe’s European Works Council and the views of employee representatives are also taken into account when developing action plans. The EWC was established in 1996 under European and Swedish employment law. Each entity has the opportunity to elect one or more representatives, depending on their size, and the annual meeting is attended by Toyota Material Handling Europe’s President and several members of the Management Team.
  • Promoting volunteering
  • In order to increase sustainability awareness among its employees Toyota Material Handling Europe carries out a number of activities every year, particularly around the United Nations World Environment Day (June) and the European Week for Health & Safety at Work (October). Toyota Material Handling Europe is dedicated to making a positive contribution to society and wants to engage its employees in this. Accordingly, in FY19, Toyota Material Handling Europe donated about 100,000 EUR to social and environmental non-profit organisations and, on top of that, more than 500 employees took part in different volunteering activities: to raise money for charity, support local environmental actions, raise awareness about disability, events for students etc. Some entities also organised charity runs. 51 employees from Toyota Material Handling France took part in the La Baule triathlon, 24 employees ran against cancer in Italy and 260 employees in Sweden supported blood donation initiatives via a charity run. With the support of an external organisation, Toyota Material Handling France held a workshop to raise awareness for disabilities. The workshop was designed for employees without disabilities to better understand the difficulties and feelings of employees with visual, hearing and other physical disabilities or those with a psychosomatic disease in their daily lives. The event was attended by 81 employees, who experienced cooking with blinders or earplugs. They shared the feeling of their challenged colleagues through the disability simulations and exchanged information on disabilities.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews

Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Toyota Material Handling Europe, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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