To effectively and sustainably manage community relations, we look at the needs of the communities in which we operate around the world and focus on those needs. We also recognize that we must embed community issues into our core business practices and manage them with the same rigor as other aspects of our business.
Changes in the markets 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 Financial Health 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 key sustainability priorities such as human rights, access to water, and driving safety. 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. (See the Mobility section for more on this topic.) 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 in 2003 reinforced that our behaviors and actions include a focus on issues outside the walls of our plants and facilities. This Code was more formally adopted as Policy Letter 24 in 2007. In early 2012, Policy Letter 24 was revised, and the title was changed to the Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility. One purpose of the revisions was to address the human rights “Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework” proposed by United Nations Special Representative John Ruggie. Policy Letter 24 also includes language to specifically address human trafficking and a commitment to work with local, indigenous people on sustainable water use. Finally, the Policy extends supply chain expectations to enforce similar policies to suppliers’ subcontractors, which is consistent with Ford’s Terms and Conditions for suppliers. The performance criteria for assessments of Ford-owned and -operated facilities now address several key community issues and evaluate engagement with members of the local community. (See the Governance section for more on this topic.)
Our work to develop and implement Policy Letter 24 has helped to establish our trustworthiness in communities in which we are developing our Blueprint for Mobility – our strategy for rethinking transportation solutions and personal mobility in the face of population growth, urbanization and other key societal and economic trends. 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.