2011 Ford FiestaEnlarge Photo
We talk a lot about green rides here at TCC -- in fact, the HighGearMedia family boasts several sites that rank eco-friendliness among their top priorities. But as interested as consumers may be in hybrids and EVs and fuel-economy, many also want to see that the companies themselves are operating efficiently and to know that they're being good corporate citizens. Ford's recently published sustainability report seems to show just that.
Ford has been on a roll as of late, and it's been hard to spot many missteps. The company took the lemons of the economic meltdown and made potent lemonade, improving its image and its market share. One way Ford has achieved such goals has been by communicating regularly with the general public and by creating a sense of focus and transparency. The company's sustainability microsite is a good example of that principle in action -- and as an added bonus, it demonstrates that Ford is able to walk the green walk.
Among the findings on that site, we learn that the automaker trimmed water usage in its facilities by an impressive 16% last year, and its 2009 vehicles are emitting 12% less CO2 than their 2006 predecessors -- which keeps Ford on track for a total emissions drop of 30% by 2020. Also nifty is the fact that Ford has cut its own factories' CO2 emissions by 44% over the last decade.
There's a lot of information in the sustainability report -- not just about climate and the environment, but also human rights, vehicle safety, driver distraction, and an interesting discussion about the challenges of increasing personal mobility on an increasingly crowded planet. True, the report sometimes slaps Ford on the back a tad too hard -- like when it insists that no one was really paying attention to workers' rights when Ford took up the cause in 2000. (The UAW might have something to say about that.) But on the whole, it provides a lot of interesting data about Ford's business practices, and it does so in an engaging, readable way. What's more, as far as we can tell, Ford is the only one of Detroit's Big Three to provide such an in-depth offering to the public.
Of course, Ford is a major international corporation, and it would be naive to think that the automaker has undertaken these initiatives solely because they appeal to tree-huggers. Ultimately, the company is responsible for making and saving money; folks at Ford just happen to believe that thoughtful, eco-friendly policies will help it do so in the long run. And on the side, they make Ford look like a good corporate citizen, which ain't bad for business, either.