With the same excitement with which we release products, we provide support to the communities in which we live, work and play. Our community support remains independent from but aligned with our Company goals and our ONE Ford plan. One of the outputs of ONE Ford is to build a better world, and so reaching out and providing assistance to our communities is an essential part of what we do.
Ford has been supporting community efforts since our founding more than 100 years ago. For us, it is not just about donating money. It’s also about building partnerships and working with others to address the difficult challenges so many people are facing. Our community activities are guided by the sustainability and business priorities that guide our business, including water, human rights and driving safety. We also focus on improving community life by helping communities meet basic needs (such as food and shelter), supporting development programs, helping with emergency and disaster response and assisting in improving educational opportunities. We focus our community activities in these areas because we still believe, as Henry Ford did when he founded Ford Motor Company, that the Company is only as strong as the communities where our employees and customers live and work.
Several trends have reshaped our industry and our Company in recent years, including increased competition globally and changing markets for our products, with the bulk of future sales growth expected to occur in emerging economies. Ford is expanding its own footprint in emerging markets: We are expanding or building new plants at seven locations in the Asia Pacific region and we are hiring employees across that region. Ford and other companies are also expanding our supply chain in these lower-cost emerging markets, as a way to serve both local markets and the global supply chain. These changes are affecting not only how we manage our operations, but also how we engage with and affect the communities in which we operate. To address these changes, we have refocused our community efforts to reflect the global nature of our business, while recognizing that Michigan is our headquarters state and will always remain an important part of our focus.
Whether doing business in Michigan or Malaysia, we seek to respect and make a positive contribution to our host communities. Operating in emerging economies, however, does bring with it some new community issues for us to understand and manage.
One of these issues is human rights. Specifically, we must ensure that our products, no matter where they are made, are manufactured under conditions that demonstrate respect for the people who make them. We also must respect the rights of people living in the communities around our facilities, as well as our suppliers’ facilities, who may be affected by those operations. We view respect for human rights as not only a core operational issue, but also a key to maintaining the trust and respect of local communities. That trust is critical if we want to continue to operate and, increasingly, sell our products in those locations. (See the Governance and Supply Chain sections for more on these topics.) We are also looking at water issues in relation to human rights and are exploring ways to connect our water strategy with water-related community initiatives. (See the Water section for more information.)
We have remained steadfast in our community involvement throughout the auto industry’s recent struggles. In fact, we recognize the impact of the industry’s struggles and resulting stresses on communities, and we were the only American auto company to continue our commitment to volunteerism during the downturn.
See some of the community-related projects we are working on around the globe.