Ford Motor Company today released its 18th annual Sustainability Report, highlighting the steps the company has taken to reduce its environmental impact by cutting down on waste, recycling, utilizing sustainable materials, and helping suppliers to follow suit. Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford started the Sustainability Report in the year 2000 over concerns that the automaker could do much more to champion and protect the environment.
Ford has adopted a strategy of revamping its global facilities – both manufacturing and non-manufacturing sites – to achieve true “zero-waste-to-landfill” status. Today, 82 facilities achieve that status, 49 of them manufacturing plants, and the list includes Ford’s massive Rouge Center. Even Ford’s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan is a zero-waste-to-landfill facility.
Water is also of particular interest to Ford Motor Company. Since the Sustainability Report was launched in 2000, Ford has cut water usage by 61 percent, and the carmaker has set a goal to use zero drinking water in its manufacturing processes in the future. Last June, Ford joined the Business Alliance for Water and Climate’s “Improve Water Security” initiative, and is the first automaker to do so.
Three Ford manufacturing sites – Dearborn Stamping, Kentucky Truck, and Buffalo Stamping – now use a closed-loop recycling system to capture and recycle scraps of military-grade aluminum alloy left over from the production of vehicles like the Ford F-150. Each month, the company recycles 20 million pounds of alloy – enough material to build another 37k F-Series truck bodies.
As of today, nearly 300 Ford car parts are made from sustainable materials including soy, cotton, wood, flax, jute, and natural rubber. Ford most recently announced a collaboration with Jose Cuervo, the tequila distillery, to research the possibility of using waste agave fibers in the production of strong, durable plastics that could form wiring harnesses, HVAC units, glove boxes, and other pieces.
Supply Chain Sustainability
Ford is working with its suppliers to help them also achieve better sustainability, with a voluntary “Partnership for a Cleaner Environment” program that now includes more than 40 suppliers in 40 countries – up from 25 suppliers in 2015. The program’s focuses at inception were energy and water conservation (participating suppliers are expected to save a combined estimated 550 million gallons of water over the next five years), but it’s since been expanded to offer best practices with regard to waste reduction and emissions.
Ford was named to Ethisphere’s “World’s Most Ethical Company” list for the eighth straight year in 2017, due in large part to its committed efforts in the area of sustainability. As a means of preserving the legacy of the company’s founder, Henry Ford – an avid farmer and environmentalist before the term “environmentalist” was yet really in use, continuing to lead in this space is important to the company.