Climate Change and the Environment
Our activities have the potential to affect land use, nature and biodiversity, directly and indirectly. Our real estate portfolio includes properties for manufacturing and office use. The construction and operation of these facilities have direct impacts on land.
Ford’s most significant potential impacts on land and biodiversity are indirect, occurring elsewhere in our value chain or arising from the use of our vehicles. Indirect impacts include the extraction of raw materials to make vehicle parts, habitat fragmentation from road construction, localized pollution from vehicles and the potential effects of climate change on biodiversity.
Many of our facilities have taken steps to improve biodiversity and wildlife habitat on their land.
A highly visible example of Ford’s commitment to sustainability can be seen on more than 70 acres of Ford-owned land throughout southeast Michigan, which is adorned with sunflowers and native prairie plantings. These plantings provide habitat for wildlife such as white-tailed deer, red fox, wild turkeys and coyote. All of these species have been spotted at Ford World Headquarters, which has about six acres of native prairie. These plantings also reduce mowing and fertilization costs. By replacing what otherwise would be traditional turf grass, the company saves approximately 30 percent on the costs of labor, gas and fertilizer. We also use native plants in our landscaping whenever possible, as they are better adapted to local conditions, and provide food and shelter for wildlife.
We continue to recycle our landscaping debris as compost in Ford-owned farm fields throughout southeast Michigan. By allowing our leaves, grass and plant clippings to collect and decompose throughout the summer, we are able to add more than 3,000 cubic yards of nutrient-rich compost to our fields in lieu of a synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizer each year.
We are also installing “smart” irrigation systems at some of our Dearborn (Michigan) properties. These systems use site conditions – such as soil and plant types, evapotranspiration rates and local weather data – to program watering only when it is needed. To date, systems at 49 sites have been completed and are providing water savings of just over 30 percent. Systems at the remaining five sites in our commercial property portfolio will be completed this year.
We are also reducing emissions produced in normal lawn maintenance by using propane-fueled mowers, which produce approximately 24 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, 20 percent fewer nitrogen oxide emissions, and 60 percent less carbon monoxide than gasoline-powered mowers. Propane also eliminates fuel spills that often occur during the refueling of traditional gas mowers, and propane is nontoxic and soluble in water. In addition to these environmental benefits, the vast majority of propane is domestically produced and it is less expensive than gasoline. Propane also increases mower engine life and reduces maintenance because it burns cleaner than gasoline, which further reduces maintenance costs and resource use. Fairlane Grounds, which provides lawn mowing services at Ford facilities in the Dearborn area, has already converted 10 mowers (or about a quarter of their mower fleet) to run on propane instead of gasoline. All future scheduled mower replacements will be propane mowers, until the entire fleet is propane-powered. In addition, Fairlane Grounds has piloted tested Ford F-350 trucks converted to run on propane by Roush CleanTech and is considering replacing a portion of its vehicle fleet with propane autogas-fueled units. An on-site propane fueling station for trucks and mowers has been installed.
© 2014 Ford Motor Company