How Ford Integrates Sustainability into the Company

Ford HQsFord Motor Company is a sustainable company in more ways than one. It is financially sustainable. It is the only one of the Big Three that didn’t need a bailout from the government when the economy went south. It is environmentally sustainable. The company made it to the number two spot on Interbrand’s 2013 Best Global Green Brands Report. In fact, Ford rose 13 spots from 2012.

Bob Shanks, Chief Financial Officer, declared during a recent media call that “sustainability is an integral factor in many of the things we do at Ford all around the world.” Sustainability for Ford means more than just taking care of the environment, as John Viera, Global Director, Sustainability and Vehicle Environmental Matters, pointed out during the media call. Sustainability at Ford is “about finding the balance” between the environmental, economic and social, Viera stated.

“We really need to consider the environmental, economic and social in concert with each other to deliver a comprehensive sustainability strategy and sustainability story for our company,” Viera said.

The recent release of Ford’s 14th annual sustainability report shows that sustainability really is an integral part of the company, and highlights progress the company has made in the three areas Viera mentioned. Here are some highlights from the report:


  • 2012 concluded as one of the company’s “most profitable ever in North America”
  • Reported total company full-year, pre-tax profits of $8 billion (the third year in a row of $8 billion or more in pre-tax profits)
  • Launched 25 vehicles and 31 powertrains globally
  • Achieved investment grade ratings that enabled the return of the Blue Oval
  • Resumed regular dividend payments to its shareholders
  • Announced strategy and began actions to de-risk its funded pension obligations
  • Achieved record revenue, wholesales, and market share in Asia Pacific, Africa and China
  • Began a transformation plan to return Europe to profitability by mid-decade


  • Ford is on track to reach its water-use-per-vehicle reduction goal of 30 percent globally by 2015
  • Achieved a 37 percent per vehicle decrease in carbon emissions levels at global facilities between 2000 and 2012
  • Decreased total carbon emissions at Ford’s global facilities by 4.65 million metric tons, or 47 percent since 2000
  • Met its commitment to reduce U.S. facility emissions by 10 percent per vehicle produced between 2002 and 2012, as part of an Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers program
  • Decreased vehicle tailpipe emissions on a per vehicle basis by 16 percent since 2007
  • Reduced waste-to-landfill by 19 percent per vehicle between 2011 and 2012, as part of a plan to reduce the amount of waste-to-landfill by 40 percent per vehicle by 2016
  • Reduced global water use by 62 percent, or 1.95 million cubic meters, from 2011 to 2012, which brought over $3 million in cost savings
  • Reduced global water use per vehicle produced to 4.3 cubic meters in 2012, down from 4.7 cubic meters in 2011 and 5.1 cubic meters in 2010
  • Improved global energy efficiency by 6.4 percent


  • Trained 325 suppliers in sustainability management in 2012 as part of Ford’s Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility

Photo: Wikipedia

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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