Our Blueprint for Sustainability
Working Conditions in Ford Plants
Ford’s Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility, or Policy Letter 24, applies to our own facilities as well as those of our joint venture partners and suppliers. Since 2004, we have conducted 53 formal assessments of Ford facilities, five of which were joint venture facilities. During 2011, we revised Policy Letter 24 and did not conduct any assessments. In 2012, we plan to conduct four to six assessments of Ford facilities using our new assessment process.
Sites are selected for assessment by Ford’s Sustainability and Environmental Policy, Global Labor Affairs and Supply Chain Sustainability functions based on the sites’ impact on our supply chain, emerging issues, and the views of thought leaders, nongovernmental organization representatives and human rights activists.
The process for assessing Ford facilities includes a questionnaire completed by facility management and a detailed review of documents related to the full range of working conditions issues (e.g., collective bargaining agreements, grievance procedure logs, employee hotline records and health and safety audit reports).
The findings of the questionnaire and document review serve as the basis for interviews with facility management. Where procedures and/or documentation are lacking, or where we feel it would otherwise be valuable, the assessments also include facility visits.
The findings of the assessments are initially shared with human rights organizations with which Ford works and then published on our website. We have sought the opinions of neutral third parties who have visited plants and/or reviewed the assessment process, and they have agreed that the process is robust and has integrity.
The findings of the past assessments confirmed that Ford’s wholly and majority-owned facilities are operating in compliance with Policy Letter 24. Reflecting the expanded scope of Policy Letter 24, the assessments will also discuss and document community engagement efforts, effects on indigenous populations and environmental initiatives. However, work with our partners can be affected by local government legislation; in some cases, governments in developing economies may own some of a joint venture, and we need to be especially certain that Policy Letter 24 elements and work rules are enforced. We plan to continue to monitor facilities to detect and address any potential concerns.
We have received considerable and consistent positive feedback from external stakeholders about the policies and systems in place at Ford facilities. While we and our stakeholders have confidence in our systems, we nonetheless believe it is important to continue conducting the assessments given that conditions can change and new issues emerge.
For information on working conditions in our supply chain, see the Supply Chain section.