TOTO'S Take: Luxury is Sustainable
Depending on whom you ask, “luxury” and “sustainability” are often seen as conflicting terms. Historically, the preservation of natural resources was not associated with the production of luxury goods, so terms like “sustainability” and “durability” did not enter the conversation. However, according to The United States Environmental Protection Agency, achieving sustainability is to “create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.” On the other hand, “durability” focuses primarily on withstanding the deterioration of quality or value over time. Though painted as seemingly opposite objectives, upon closer examination, sustainability and durability are two sides of the same coin. Unlike TOTO, however, the traditional luxury goods business has been slow to catch on to this.
The Benefits of Sustainable, Durable Luxury Goods
When purchasing a luxury item, you consider the cost, quality of materials, and other key production factors since you expect it to be a long-lasting -- even one-time -- purchase. As more people become conscious of their purchasing power and its ability to impact both manufacturers and the planet, the concepts of “sustainability” and “durability” will become more intimately connected. Further, when mass consumption is examined, we find that sustainable practices in producing durable goods are worth the time and cost. For example, TOTO has numerous competitors whose products attempt to mimic our products' superior quality and genius technology and design. However, they haven’t succeeded in making them stand the test of time as TOTO has.
TOTO’s history is steeped in our dedication to producing products that place a high value on the needs of our customers and the planet. That is, TOTO products are used in our customers' daily lives over a long period of time. Accordingly, from a product life cycle perspective (from raw material procurement and manufacturing to sale, distribution, use, and eventually disposal), reducing water and energy use during the product use phase helps contribute significantly to conserving the global environment. Therefore, TOTO strives to innovate environmentally conscious designs in our product development and popularize products based on these sustainable, durable designs.
By engineering durable, sustainable products, TOTO endeavors to maximize efficiencies in natural resource consumption. We design our products to be long-lived and perform optimally for years to come, so you enjoy them for many years. As more companies come to understand the importance of environmental responsibility and resource conservation, the more these ideologies blend into one, deepening our perception of luxury.
A luxury good that is both sustainable, and durable, and helps reduce resource consumption contributes to a more habitable planet in the future. Though some may negatively perceive sustainably manufactured products due to their cost, you must consider whether enabling yourself and others to contribute to a cleaner future is worth the investment. For TOTO, the answer is clear. We design highly intentional bathroom products guaranteed to shift your perspective of cleanliness and comfort that will last as long as you need them to.
Millennials and Gen Z are at the forefront of luxury spending. They believe that splurging on a luxury product or experience today can make all the difference long term. Nielsen's Global Sustainability report states, “despite the fact that millennials are coming of age in one of the most difficult economic climates in the past 100 years, they continue to be most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings.”
TOTO’s Sustainability Initiatives
Today, the push toward sustainable practices is ubiquitous, but TOTO has been ahead of the curve for a long time. Dating back to 1917, when TOTO was incorporated, “environmental stewardship” has been at the core of TOTO’s essence as a company. We include numerous green initiatives, including closed-loop recycling methods and working with external partners to reduce and recycle waste as efficiently as possible. Water conservation is encouraged as we reuse post-industrial gray water for washdown in manufacturing processes and reduce water in office spaces where it is not needed. By fostering harmonious relationships with our business practices and the environment that surrounds us, TOTO creates innovative products that are ethically sound. Sustainable thought leadership is woven throughout TOTO as caring for others and the planet as you would care for yourself is a focal point in our product design and manufacturing. We offset 103% of our energy used at the Morrow plant with solar energy through our partnership with Georgia Power.
HYBRID ECOLOGY TORNADO FLUSHING SYSTEM
Another TOTO method of conserving water is implementing our HYBRID ECOLOGY TORNADO FLUSH SYSTEM in our luxury NEOREST Smart Toilets. This high-efficiency flushing technology utilizes two separate water streams, one from the plumbing connection and one from an internal tank, to meticulously clean your toilet on the first flush, so a second is never required -- no matter where in a building your NEOREST is located, from a residential ground floor to the top of a luxury high-rise apartment building.
TOTO’s HYBRID ECOLOGY TORNADO FLUSH SYSTEM also offers an auto-flush feature that detects whether to use a small flush (0.8 gpf) or full flush (1.0 gpf), automatically controlling the amount of water consumed with each flush. Additionally, due to the absence of matter in the bowl after each flush, TOTO helps limit the need for harsh chemicals as a cleaning agent. Our products utilize our built-in EWATER+ technology for a comprehensive clean. We’re thinking many steps ahead, so you don’t have to worry about it later.
TOTO Sets the Standard
TOTO is a significant force in the plumbing industry. We also have worked with the EPA to help develop the language of the WaterSense Program and to help establish the testing criteria to validate the integrity of the high-efficiency product performance. As the only plumbing manufacturer to receive the EPA’s Water Efficiency Leader Award, TOTO is active in its environmental responsibility and encourages others to join this new normal. Further, building communities passionate about green initiatives inside and outside the company is vital to TOTO. One of the ways we manifest this is in TOTO employees becoming sustainability experts and gaining LEED Green Associate or Accredited Professional status.
Additionally, TOTO works with Sustainable Minds to provide our customers with transparency reports and material health overviews for many of our TOTO products. We want to empower our customers with the knowledge they need to strengthen their decision to purchase our products. TOTO understands the commitment you’re making, and we want to demonstrate that our products meet and exceed your standards.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Supply chain management is integral to TOTO’s corporate social responsibility and way of doing business. TOTO believes that not only TOTO but also our entire supply chain must practice CSR management at a high level and act ethically and effectively for society and the environment.
TOTO upholds its sustainability standards across the supply chain. As such, TOTO regularly enforces its standards with its suppliers, who must also be sustainably compliant in their operating practices. TOTO’s "Supplier Code of Conduct" is based on the 10 Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, which highlights the necessity of working together to achieve a sustainable future. Moreover, to reduce environmental depletion, TOTO has adopted its “Green Procurement Guidelines” to help realize a sustainable society by protecting the global environment and biodiversity by reducing the adverse environmental impacts of its global supply chain.
TOTO also believes in the proper balance of procurement and the management of our natural resources. Thus, TOTO’s “Procurement Respecting Biodiversity” educates our suppliers on the best practices for producing and using raw materials. For example, earth and stone raw materials are used to create our ceramic materials and must be properly cared for as that translates to our customers. To produce high-quality products, we must ensure our methods are of equal measure.
Social Sustainability is Luxury
In the past, social responsibility has been an overlooked issue by many companies who didn’t recognize human rights as a vital part of sustainable initiatives. TOTO’s CSR procurement requirements for their suppliers include acknowledging human rights within their manufacturing practices. The conversation surrounding social sustainability must include the people managing these resources. We cannot speak to creating cleaner futures without ensuring the safety of our employees by providing adequate working conditions suitable for everyone.
Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; customers expect companies to act on their declarations of creating a more viable future with their products. Luxury product manufacturing is no longer viewed as a practice without accountability. We know now that sustainable practices with durability in mind contribute in a much more treasured way than products that don’t. TOTO’s idea of luxury is ever evolving, but our commitment to providing quality, long-lasting products that benefit people and the planet is unwavering.