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Ford Motor Company Reports Significant Cuts to Energy Use

On June 15, 2012, the Ford Motor Company released its 13th annual Sustainability Report. The report, titled “Blueprint for Sustainability: Accelerating Ahead”, highlighted Ford’s achievements over the past 12 months in various social, economic and environmental issues.

The report outlines significant efforts by Ford in a number of areas including reducing carbon emissions by 8% since 2012, global facility energy efficiency by 10 % and water use per vehicle by 8 %. One the most notable achievements is the reduction in energy used to produce each vehicle in its manufacturing facilities by 22% over the last 6 years.

A car manufacturing plant uses huge amounts of energy and materials in producing its cars – heavy industrial machinery consumes thousands upon thousands of kilowatts on a daily basis, thousands of gallons of water is used in the manufacturing process (much of which is wasted), paint products, metal off cuts, just to name a few. To put electricity use into perspective, the average household in California and New York use between 562 kwh and 799 kwh of electricity per month. To manufacture a Ford car, Ford uses on average 2,778 kwh.

This is astonishing for a car and many people may be shocked at this figure but credit must be given to Ford. They are one of the few car companies that have been publicly reporting and documenting environmental initiatives in their annual Sustainability Report since 1999. Chrysler only released its first Sustainability Report last year (which also highlighted some significant achievements in sustainability) following on from Ford’s successful initiative.

The emphasis placed on sustainability by the big car companies is encouraging, and the public at large needs to be given due credit for this. Through political action, lobbying and buying more green products, we have created a political and consumer climate whereby polluters of the environment lose money and consumer confidence. Their products are shunned, they are heavily criticized in the media and we hunt them through class action suits whenever and wherever possible. The financial consequence of pollution is apparent and severe.

Big industry has never been a friend of the environment. A natural consequence of large manufacturing plants, be it in the automotive industry or any other big industry (arms, raw materials, pharmaceuticals), is high consumption of energy and production of manufacturing bi-products which in a lot of cases are damaging to the environment. Entire forests the size of small African countries have been destroyed and rivers polluted to sustain big industry. So, when an iconic American company places an emphasis on sustainability and publicly discloses its initiatives and results, due credit must be given.

We should applaud the automotive industry for their efforts in sustainability and ensure that this continues. Ultimately, it is up to us, the consumers, through our buying behavior that we can set the agenda for the big industry and shape the world that we live in for us and for our children.

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