Engaging with Communities

To effectively and sustainably manage community relations issues, we must embed them in our core business practices and seek to manage them with the same rigor as other aspects of our business.

Anticipated changes in the market for our products have implications for how we engage with local communities. The mobility needs of potential customers in emerging markets differ in some fundamental ways from those in the developed markets the auto industry has primarily served to date. Local community engagement is a key strategy Ford is using to learn about and understand how best to meet the needs of these critical and fast-growing markets. (See the Sustaining Ford section for more on this topic.)

In recent years, we have taken steps to develop a more integrated approach to managing the different dimensions of our community involvement. Our goal is to more closely connect our traditional community relations programs, community impact assessment processes and human rights efforts. Over time, we also want to link all of these efforts with our development of new products and services to meet the unique mobility needs of communities in emerging markets. In our view, this approach will not only increase efficiencies, but also maximize our impact and effectiveness.

The release of our Code of Basic Working Conditions (CBWC) as a formal Policy Letter reinforced that our behaviors and actions include a focus on issues outside the walls of our plants and facilities. The performance criteria for CBWC assessments of owned and operated facilities now address several key community issues and evaluate engagement with members of the local community.

Our work to develop and implement the CBWC has helped to establish our trustworthiness in communities in which we are developing our sustainable mobility strategy. In our view, developing a deep understanding of the unique mobility needs of emerging markets is a precondition of being able to do business in those places.