Human Rights in the Supply Chain: Ford’s Global Working Conditions Program

We aim to ensure that everything we make – or others make for us – is produced consistent with local law and our Code of Basic Working Conditions (CBWC). This can be challenging, as we have less control in suppliers’ facilities than in our own, particularly at the sub-tier level (i.e., our suppliers’ suppliers). As Ford control decreases through the tiers of suppliers, the risk for substandard working conditions increases. For this reason, we have had to define our approach carefully, involving suppliers, other automakers, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders.

The legal structures governing working conditions, and the level of enforcement, vary widely across the countries in which we operate. Ensuring sound working conditions in the supply chain is ultimately the suppliers’ responsibility, and we would like governments to play the lead role in enforcing compliance with laws. However, as customers, we also have an active role to play in supplier development.

Since we began work with our suppliers to ensure alignment with our CBWC, our approach has emphasized building capability throughout the supply chain to manage working conditions effectively. Our primary focus has been on training and education about working conditions issues, in conjunction with assessments of individual suppliers in order to verify performance and progress. We are committed to collaborative action to more effectively influence all levels of the automotive supply chain.

Our long-term vision is for our industry as a whole to work together to ensure that high expectations around human rights and working conditions are met throughout the supply chain. We promoted cross-industry collaboration beginning in North America and have extended these efforts to include global manufacturers. Our view is that all participants in the automotive supply chain – from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Ford, to the suppliers themselves, to the government agencies that set and enforce the regulations governing operations – must be involved to make these efforts sustainable in the long run. Such collective action will not only minimize costs and increase efficiency for OEMs and suppliers alike, but will lead to better results than if individual companies take steps in isolation. More information about the corporate responsibility accomplishments and ongoing work of the industry through the AIAG can be found at

We are working toward our vision using a three-pronged approach aimed at individual supplier facilities, supplier corporate management and OEM corporate management. (See the Expanding Human Rights Impact on Supply Chain graphic.)