Sustainability 2011/12



Water availability, quality and access are critical global issues that extend well beyond environmental concerns. Water is essential to every element of existence. It is vital for health, indispensable for agriculture and biodiversity, necessary for industry and critical for community development. The need for clean water cuts across all social, economic, environmental and political boundaries.

With water pollution increasing and the world’s population growing, access to clean water is growing ever more uncertain. Ford Motor Company can play a role in developing and implementing solutions to the global water challenge.

Water conservation is an integral part of Ford’s sustainability strategy, alongside greenhouse gas reduction. Many vehicle manufacturing processes require water, and water is used at every point in our supply chain. Our water-related risks come not only from being a direct water consumer, but from being a large purchaser of water-intensive materials, parts and components.

In recent years, we have been refining our water strategy, which examines our water use from both an environmental and a social perspective. We prioritize facility water reductions based on local needs, while using a global, company-wide approach. To better understand our impacts, we have been assessing our water footprint throughout the lifecycle of our vehicles. We also have been taking a close look at which areas of Ford operations are located in water-stressed regions. And, we’re participating in social programs that provide better access to water in India and parts of Africa and Central America.

Our water strategy actions – which include a new, water-use-per-vehicle reduction goal of 30 percent from 2009 to 2015 – aim to meet a number of objectives. These include:

  • Minimizing water use and consumption at Ford facilities
  • Finding ways to use alternative, lower-quality water sources
  • Prioritizing our water technology investments based on local water scarcity and cost effectiveness
  • Meeting either local quality standards or Ford global standards for wastewater discharge – whichever is more stringent
  • Ensuring a stable water supply for our manufacturing facilities while working with local communities to minimize our impact

At Ford, we recognize water as a human rights issue – in other words, as a “right to water.” Companies that underperform on water issues will face scrutiny over human rights violations – especially those companies operating in water-stressed areas. Our Company’s water strategy is integrated into our overall Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility.

  1. Sources: UN-Water, WHO/UNICEF