It's been a while since Ford produced vehicles with wood as a primary building material, or even as a dashboard accent. So you wouldn't really think of Ford as being a big consumer of virgin timber. But what about millions, literally millions of owners manuals, warranty booklets, sales brochures and even internal corporate-printed pieces? It all adds up to a virtual forest. So, Ford has announced plans to cut down on its tree-cutting.

In the past year, Ford has reduced its use of paper made exclusively from virgin sources by 12 million pounds. Beginning this year, over 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles will come with owner's manuals that are printed on paper containing at least 10 percent recycled fiber and are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). John Viera, Ford's director of Sustainability and Environmental policy, is rightly very proud of Ford's achievement. "Increasing the use of recycled paper may sound like a small step for an automotive company, but the results have been anything but small," he said.

So what are the environmental benefits to Ford's initiative? Well, the company says that more than 12,000 trees will be preserved – trees that will absorb 3 million pounds of CO2 annually. Also, 5.2 million gallons of waste water will be avoided; 600,000 pounds of solid waste won't be generated; 1.1 million pounds of greenhouse gasses will not be emitted and more than 8.6 billion BTUs of energy won't be consumed.

So does this make all 2011 Fords a few percentage points greener than the competition? Either way, bravo, Ford.

[Source: Green Car Congress | Image: orphanjones – C.C. 2.0]


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