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In its annual Sustainability Report, Ford Motors made several key pledges in addition to the promise to be carbon neutral as a company by 2050. In addition, they will use 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy for all manufacturing plants globally by 2035, aspire to achieve zero air emissions from our facilities, only use recycled and renewable plastics in our vehicles globally and eliminate single-use plastics from our operations by 2030, and achieve true zero waste to landfill across our operations, among other social responsibility commitments. And when it comes to making cars, Ford is “investing more than $11.5 billion in electric vehicles through 2022, introducing zero-emission versions of some of its most popular nameplates are on the way, including the Mustang Mach-E, which starts arriving in dealerships this year, as well as a Transit Commercial EV and fully electric F-150 coming within 24 months.”
Why This Matters: Other car companies have focused on products — Daimler Chrysler, VW, Volvo, and Tesla come to mind. But Ford is going further, undertaking a “whole company” paradigm shift to realign its thinking around climate change and sustainability, and have set a goal for climate neutrality that is remarkable given that the cars until now have been synonymous with fossil fuels.
The company breaks down its sustainability goals into some big buckets — including COVID-19 efforts, diversity and inclusion, electrification, and the circular economy. On COVID, the company points out that it helped to produce ventilators, respirators, and personal protective equipment when they were needed. On diversity, the company says that “corporations can no longer stay silent” and it sees the “disparity among its team members affected by COVID-19 and in the legacy of economic disparities in its own home city of Detroit.” Ford also supports Fair and Equal Michigan’s efforts to amend the state’s civil rights law to protect the LGBTQ+ community.
When it comes to cars and corporate operations, the company is equally progressive. They recently announced they will create North America’s largest public charging network, the FordPass Charging Network, with more than 13,500 charging stations and almost 40,000 individual charge plugs. These are essential infrastructure for an all-electric fleet that includes stalwarts like the F-150 truck with all the attributes of their signature product in terms of performance and capability without sacrificing safety or convenience. They will also debut an all-electric Mustang SUV that will be available starting later this year and targeted EPA-estimated range of 300 miles on a single charge.
They are also serious about the circular economy and are working to reduce waste streams, partnering with other companies like McDonald’s to use coffee chaff, a waste byproduct from McDonald’s coffee production, to make vehicle parts thereby reducing the use of petroleum to make such components but lower the weight of those part by 20 percent and require up to 25 percent less energy during the molding process. They also have worked on reducing waste in their own manufacturing processes with innovations such as a closed-loop recycling system to recover up to 20 million pounds of high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy per month, enough to build either 51 commercial jetliners or more than 37,000 F-Series truck bodies per month.
Bob Holycross, Ford’s chief sustainability, environment, and safety officer, said in a statement, “We can develop and make great vehicles, sustain and grow a strong business and protect our planet at the same time — in fact, those ideals complement each other…We don’t have all the answers yet but are determined to work with all of our global and local partners and stakeholders to get there.”
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