Ford, along with nine of its biggest global competitors (incl. BMW, Honda, Volkswagen, and Toyota), are working together to try and address some of the ethical, environmental, and labor rights issues involved in the sourcing of raw materials used to make car parts. The automakers are all involved in a partnership called “Drive Sustainability”, facilitated by CSR Europe (where “CSR” stands for “Corporate Social Responsibility”), which was launched to increase transparency throughout the automotive supply chain and tackle issues regarding workers’ rights and the environment.
“This is a perfect opportunity for an integrated approach amongst auto companies to come together and share a common platform for how we look at some of the very important aspects of sustainability, like working conditions and our collective environmental footprint,” says Ford Europe’s Vice President of Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering, Bob Holycross.
Ford and the nine other automakers involved in Drive Sustainability are preparing to set up a “Raw Materials Observatory” to focus on the impacts of various raw materials. Ford has suppliers in 60 different countries, and some parts have as many as ten tiers between the original raw material and the final assembled vehicle, which makes ensuring environmental sustainability and ethical practices throughout the chain troublesome. The industry’s surging interest in electrification is sure to complicate things even further, as there are concerns regarding how battery materials such as graphite and cobalt are produced.
None of this has stopped Ford from making a concerted effort, with a number of programs already in place that help promote best practices in manufacturing.