Ford may be taking small steps when it comes to electric-vehicle sales, but it says it's taking leaps in other areas of environmental protection. In its 13th annual sustainability report, Ford said that it reduced energy use per vehicle by 22 percent in the past six years and will cut energy usage by another 25 percent by 2016.

In "Blueprint for Sustainability: Accelerating Ahead," the U.S. automaker also said it reduced landfill waste and CO2 emissions per vehicle made last year by 11 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Ford added that it will have cut water use by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015.

Among energy-saving initiatives are electricity-reducing paint applications and solar panels at Ford's plant in Wayne, MI. Ford has long turned to materials such as soy foam and other sustainable materials to cut petroleum use in the manufacturing of its vehicles.

Ford is highlighting its sustainability efforts among the environmentally conscious set as it looks to build sales of its Ford Focus Electric, which it debuted last year. Through the end of May, Ford had sold just 16 Focus Electrics since late last year.
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Blueprint for Sustainability: Accelerating Ahead" – a voluntary and comprehensive annual account highlighting all things sustainable, from people to products

Ford's success cutting energy use in its vehicle manufacturing process – and its announcement to cut another 25 percent in the next five years – comes as global energy use is being projected to soar 53 percent between 2008 and 2035

Other progress highlighted includes reduction in waste-to-landfill, water use and CO2 emissions; a summary of company financial health; improvement in vehicle fuel economy; and safety achievements

DEARBORN, Mich., June 15, 2012 – Ford announced today in its annual Sustainability Report that it has reduced the amount of energy required to produce each vehicle in its manufacturing facilities by 22 percent in the last six years. The company also announced plans to reduce usage another 25 percent on a per-vehicle basis by 2016.

Decreased energy consumption during vehicle manufacturing is just one highlight of Ford's 13th annual Sustainability Report. The report – "Blueprint for Sustainability: Accelerating Ahead" – is a comprehensive showcase of the company's efforts to tackle a myriad of sustainability challenges in a rapidly changing world.

Other successful initiatives featured include reductions in water use, waste-to-landfill and CO2 emissions as well as improvements in vehicle fuel economy and safety.

"Sustainability has moved from the periphery to the center of our strategy for succeeding in the marketplace and helping to address global challenges," said Robert Brown, vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

Ford issued its first Sustainability Report in 1999 to address the company's initiatives regarding social, economic and environmental issues. Like Ford's sustainability-related processes and results, the report has evolved, too. New this year are sections highlighting Ford's regional sustainability initiatives in Europe, South America and Asia; commentary from third-party subject matter experts like Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, and multimedia elements.

"Our sustainability report is far from a bunch of tables and charts," said John Viera, global director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters. "Anyone who spends any amount of time with it will truly get a sense of just how committed Ford is to supporting positive change and reducing the environmental impact of its products and facilities."

Consider the drop in energy consumption: The amount of electricity used to produce each vehicle in Ford's manufacturing facilities has been reduced by about 800 kilowatt-hours – from 3,576 kwh in 2006 to 2,778 kwh in 2011. By comparison, average households in states like California, New York, Illinois and Michigan use between 562 kwh and 799 kwh monthly.

Ford's progress has been achieved by investing in energy-saving practices and equipment. At Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., for example, the company uses a new "three-wet" paint application that reduces electricity use along with CO2 and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions.

At the same plant, a new 500-kilowatt solar panel system has been installed to generate renewable energy for production of Ford vehicles like Focus and Focus Electric.

Thanks to such efforts already in place and Ford's commitment to making further progress, the company projects a continued drop in energy consumption – 25 percent between 2011 and 2016.

This commitment is made against a backdrop of the U.S. Department of Energy announcement last September that global energy demand will increase 53 percent between 2008 and 2035.


Reduction in energy consumption is just one result of Ford's focus on minimizing the environmental impact of the vehicles it produces and the facilities where they are made.

Each Ford facility uses measured environmental targets to track and accelerate improvements designed with the environment in mind. The targets are reviewed and updated annually.

In addition to its commitment to further reducing energy consumption, Ford also:
  • Reduced the total amount of waste sent to landfills globally by 11.3 percent from 2010 to 2011
  • Plans to further reduce its waste to landfill by 10 percent per vehicle this year, building on existing efforts that have reduced global waste by 100 million pounds (44 percent) in the last five years
  • Reduced CO2 emissions from global operations in 2011 by 8 percent on a per-vehicle basis compared with 2010
  • Turned what would have been 163 tons of recovered paint solids into enough power for 20 residential homes for one year through just one of many new ways the company is converting waste to energy
  • Advanced water-treatment technologies to allow the reuse of water and reduce water supply requirements, water discharges and use of treatment chemicals and the generation of solid waste
  • Reduced water use to 4.7 cubic meters per vehicle in 2011 within a corporate goal of reducing the amount of water used per vehicle by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015
"Integration of our sustainability initiatives into the Ford production system has enabled us to accelerate environmental improvements at our manufacturing facilities," said Andy Hobbs, director, Environmental Quality Office. "This enables all members of the Ford manufacturing team to contribute to meeting our environmental targets."

Sustainable Materials

Ford vehicles continue to be a major focal point of the company's efforts to reduce environmental impact. For example, the seat fabric in most of Ford's new or redesigned vehicles must now consist of at least 25 percent post-industrial or post-consumer recycled content. A total of 37 fabrics now meet the requirements and have been incorporated into Ford vehicles. Other highlights include:
  • A seat fabric containing a fiber made from recycled plastic water bottles is being used in the Focus Electric, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi
  • Nonwoven headliner fabrics now contain 50 to 75 percent recycled yarns, depending on the color
  • Post-consumer recycled nylon is used in some underhood parts, including air cleaner housings, engine fans, fan shrouds, HVAC temperature valves, engine covers, cam covers and carbon canisters
  • Nearly 4.1 million pounds of carpet has been recycled into cylinder head covers, the equivalent of a carpet the size of more than 150 football fields – eliminating the use of more than 430,000 gallons of oil
  • Use of seat foam made with soy oil in all North America vehicles, also reducing dependency oil-use and CO2 emissions

Because Ford affects such a broad range of stakeholders – employees, dealers, investors, communities – the Sustainability Report also details some of the ways the company interacted with those parties in 2011, said David Berdish, manager, Social Sustainability.

For example, the report outlines how Ford revised its "Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility," which applies to not only Ford itself, but its $75 billion supply chain. The code deals with subjects such as working hours and conditions, nondiscrimination and other health, safety and environmental issues. Nearly 400 suppliers around the world were trained in 2011 through Ford-led and joint industry programs.

"Detailing our progress on human rights and sharing stories of our projects in the sustainability report is our primary source of communication regarding issues of social sustainability – and not just to media and customers," said Berdish. "Investors are paying attention to working conditions, conflict minerals and trafficking more intensely, and our stakeholders want to be kept updated on all developments."


Ford also is committed to customers and helping to keep them safe is a priority. That's why the company works hard to develop and offer an array of advanced safety technologies across its entire vehicle lineup. Specific milestones achieved in the last year include:
  • Twelve Ford Motor Company vehicles earned Top Safety Picks from the IIHS in 2012: Ford Fiesta (sedan and hatchback), Focus, Fusion, Taurus, Edge, Explorer, Flex and F-150 (Crew Cab) and the Lincoln MKX, MKS, MKT and MKZ
  • Ford Fusion has been an IIHS Top Safety Pick for four years in a row starting with the 2009 model year
  • The 2012 Ford Fiesta is the first vehicle in its class to offer a driver's knee airbag
  • Reaching 35,000 teen drivers in 2011 through the Ford Driving Skills for Life program – a driver education program designed for teens
  • Winning numerous awards for its available rear-seat inflatable safety belts that launched on the 2011 Ford Explorer and are an automotive industry exclusive. For the 2012 model year, Ford expanded the availability of these safety belts in North America to the Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT
To see details about the highlights above and much more, the full report can be found online at

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      ladies and gentlemen of ABG, this is how you go green and reduce consumption. 2million vehicles sold every year has 22% lower emissions and in the next few years will be a combined 45%+ lower emissions in a decade. On the million vehicle scale, without greatly compromising consumer productivity and finances. I'll either buy a ford ecoboosted or hybrid vehicle, because it's cost effective AND green. Innovation and change gets implemented and applied to the world not by the shock and awe of Teslas and Leafs. It's done when new ideas are applied to an existing way of life and provides real value - then we adapt to this new technology and we make it a norm.
        • 8 Months Ago
        it is not either/or. it is both.
          • 8 Months Ago

          @Vlad, Except the concept of BEV for the masses is fundamentally flawed. The whole idea why the automobile was made popular was because highways/gas stations were built everywhere. Filling up takes minutes, engines lasted forever, and planes were way more expensive. Now, planes are cheaper, rails is cheaper, and the only advantage of BEV is no gasoline. In every other aspect, the functionality is either worse or nonexistent. Now if the industry made a way to do a 5minute charge, then fine. But they're mass producing (Nissan Leaf) very expensive, very limited vehicles targeting the common person and you guys think it's the wave of the future. And it's so sad to see so many of you throw your money away thinking it'll save you money. One of the main arguments of BEV greenies is that they think gas prices will shoot to $10/gal in the next 5yrs. Another point they try to make is that everybody should get one to bring down the cost for them. If you like BEVs then please gush over the tesla or focus electric. Dont do it over these MIEV and Leafs cause they were purpose built for the poor folks who's pinching pennies in trying times.
          • 8 Months Ago

          @SNP: Thanks for telling us what we should be excited about. I now see that it was wrong to like the Leaf and write about it. /sarcasm off is right. It's silly to pitch improvements in ICE against BEV. Both are needed. However, physics beats economics every time - and there is a limit in how efficient ICE can possibly be.
          • 8 Months Ago

          @SNP: Please don't be sad. Check out the forum at - you'll see that people who bought Leaf can do basic math, and are perfectly aware of costs and savings. Most of us had plenty of time to think it over - Leaf is almost never an impulse buy, you have to order it and wait 3-4 months. On the purely financial basis, no new car makes any sense, period. Leaf is no exception. You cannot buy a new car and start saving, it depreciates too fast. But, because Leaf uses no gas, and electrons are much cheaper, it's less expensive for me to own Leaf than to own other new cars that I like. It is not true that BEVs don't have any advantages. Have you ever heard a phrase "silky-smooth transmission"? It is usually associated with luxury cars. Well, BEVs have the ultimately smooth transmission - no transmission at all. Do people generally pay more for quiet car than for noisy car (sports cars asaide)? BEVs are even quieter. Do people enjoy visiting gas stations? I don't think so. With BEV, you don't have to. What anti-BEV crowd doesn't get, or prefers to ignore, is that not every car needs every feature. Most American households have more than one car. One of the cars in the household rarely or never travels far from home. It doesn't need unlimited range. It will not introduce any inconvenience when it is charged overnight, and not in minutes. In fact, it is a convenience to never have to visit a gas station. Take a moment, read what actual Leaf/iMEV owners are saying. I cannot speak for all, but I'm pretty sure I'll be speaking for many: we like our cars. They are a pleasure to ride, they fit our lifestyles, they let us immediately reduce our carbon footprint, and they are a hedge against possible (and likely) rise in oil prices.
          • 8 Months Ago

          @Vlad, I like your argument and respect your point of view. But i'll counter by saying if there was no financial case behind your purchase and you were seeking a luxury ride with BEV, then you should've gotten a tesla. If I had all that money lying around seeking luxury BEV, i'd be damned to throw it on a bean shaped, common branded, low range vehicle like the LEAF.
          • 8 Months Ago

          Except on ABG there are 100posts everytime there's a Leaf or Tesla in the discussion, meanwhile it's the million vehicle efficiency boost that makes the real change. Take for example the computer revolution from the 80's-2000's. IBM, Cray and silicon graphics had the most advanced but their approach was wrong despite the enthusiastic support. It was dell/HP that made it all happen. Same thing goes for these pure EV cars, if all the limits of economics and science werent going against it, then it would be great.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sustainability is not just about going green. It is about being better corporate citizen which in the end could save your firm more or increase profits. SAP's new survey, ""Sustainability Nears a Tipping Point - Why Companies are Profiting" ( ) identifies how sustainability has changed the way your firms do business and therefore moved the needle on your revenues.
      • 8 Months Ago
      16! They've sold 4 more! Just get those C-Max Energi cars out. Those might be interesting.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Ford's sustainability effort has helped it to be the only automaker on the list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies, and they have been the only automaker on the list it for multiple years.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 8 Months Ago
      anything to avoid making the right electric cars
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