In the past week there has been a lot of discussion of Ford and their newly accelerated Way Forward. Ford Motor Company is in serious financial trouble and has to dramatically cut spending. In recent years Bill Ford himself has also been very vocal about wanting Ford to be more environmentally friendly. He has touted hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, and got a lot of press for the green roof on the new Dearborn truck assembly plant. While Ford should be given some credit for talking the talk and and even making some moves in the right direction with the introduction of the hybrid Escape/Mariner, they have definitely missed a lot of opportunities for both cost savings and environmental action.
There is one glaring example that is visible on my daily commute. There are sprinklers running watering the lawn at a local Ford manufacturing facility almost daily, rain or shine (including a couple of particularly rainy days earlier this week). A significant amount of the water ends up hydrating the road instead of the grass. This hurts in a number of ways. From an environmental perspective, Ford is wasting a lot of water. Even if they are recycling water used in the plant, they are still wasting energy to pump it out to the sprinklers. They also waste fuel and create pollution due to unnecessary mowing of the grass. If they didn't water the grass it wouldn't need mowing as often especially in the summer months. They are also wasting money both on the water, and the cost of mowing. If they tackled what may seem like minor issues like this at all their facilities, Ford could both make a real environmental statement and realize some real cost savings. By being a little less green Ford could be more green and save some green.