Meet the Sustainable Ford Explorer

The 2011 Ford Explorer has ramped up the environmentally-friendly features such as more recycled fiber in the interior and recycled steel in certain exterior parts. Perhaps most importantly, it boasts a 25 percent increase in fuel efficiency, and its seat cushions and seatbacks are made from 40 percent soy polyurethane foam.

“The new Explorer will deliver fuel economy at least 25 percent better than the current model as well as include sustainable materials like soy foam seat cushions and other eco-friendly features we will detail soon,” said Amy Marentic, group marketing manager. “Consumers will be pleasantly surprised they can get all these new features without having to sacrifice the capability, utility and safety they want for their families and adventures.”

Soy foam reduces Ford’s annual petroleum use by over 10,500 barrels, and reduces its carbon emissions by 11 million pounds. Soy foam is also 24 percent more renewable than petroleum-based foam. The Explorer is Ford’s 23rd model to use soy based foam. Ford plans to use bio-based material in almost 100 percent of its North American vehicles by the end of this year

“Soy foam is just the tip of the iceberg in the development of vehicle materials from natural resources,” said Debbie Mielewski, Ford polymer technical leader. “We have to entertain the thought of bio-replacement in baby steps, looking at every aspect of a car that could be green. One day I hope to see the automotive world go totally compostable, removing the use of petroleum-based parts 100 percent.”

Using recycled fiber reduces energy consumption by 20 percent, according to Ford’s estimates, reduces carbon emissions by 14 percent, and reduces waste by 17 percent. Ford has already reduced its virgin steel use by an estimated 119 tons per year which cuts carbon emissions by 119 tons.

“By increasing the use of recycled or renewable content in our vehicles whenever possible, Ford is helping reduce waste to landfills by millions of pounds – and the new Explorer is no exception,” said Marentic. “We believe customers will value these green features, as they help the environment without sacrificing the Explorer’s capability, utility and safety.”

Ford reduced its carbon emissions

As Bill Roth recently discussed with Ford’s CSR Director, the company has an agressive commitment to reducing the carbon impact of their products. Ford reduced the carbon emissions of its 2009 vehicles for North America by 12 percent compared to 2006, according to the 11th annual Ford Sustainability Report. The company is on tract to meet its goal of a 30 percent carbon reduction by 2020, and already met its 2006 pledge to double the amount of flexible fuel vehicles produced in U.S. by the end of this year.

“Creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals – they are essential ingredients for long-term success,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Ford’s Blueprint for Sustainability and our commitment to pursuing it have not changed. Our vision is to provide sustainable transportation that is affordable in every sense of the word – socially, environmentally and economically.”

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

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