Water scarcity and water quality degradation rank among the biggest threats facing our planet. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2015 report,1 water crises – from floods to droughts to pollution – were ranked as the number-one greatest risk facing the world, in terms of possible global impact.

And at Ford, we see water as far more than an environmental concern. Since 2012, we have recognized a basic human right to clean, affordable drinking water and adequate and accessible sanitation. Through our water strategy, we seek to uphold and respect that right.

Reducing Our Water Impacts

We have focused on reducing our water impacts since 2000, when we first began setting year-over-year reduction targets as part of our Global Water Management Initiative. Our efforts around water have evolved over the years; we have moved beyond merely reducing the water footprint of our own facilities to working more holistically outside our corporate walls, addressing water concerns in our supply chain and our broader communities.

Meeting Our Water-Reduction Goals

We set a global manufacturing water-use-per-vehicle reduction goal of 30 percent by 2015, using a 2009 baseline. We achieved this goal two years ahead of schedule. So, in 2014 we began the process of updating our global manufacturing water strategy and setting a new long-term target to reduce water use per vehicle.

During 2014, we reduced our water use per vehicle by 1.25 percent and our absolute water use by 3 percent, compared to 2013. Our target for 2015 is a reduction of 2 percent per vehicle produced, compared to 2014.

Our Corporate Water Strategy

In 2014 we published our corporate water strategy, which builds upon our 2011 water strategy for our manufacturing operations. It is designed to effect substantial, sustainable and measurable impacts within our own facilities, across our supply chain and in our regions of operation. Our water strategy complements our overall human rights policy (Policy Letter 24: Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility).

We believe that business has a key role to play in finding sustainable solutions to current and future global water challenges. As an industry leader with more than 180,000 employees worldwide and manufacturing facilities or distribution channels across six continents, our reach enables large-scale positive impact.

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  1. For each of 28 risks, survey respondents were asked, “How likely is this risk to occur globally within the next 10 years?” and “What is the estimated impact globally if this risk were to materialize?” Both were ranked on a scale of 1 to 5 by the nearly 900 experts who responded. Download the World Economic Forum survey