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Collaborating on Water

Since 2000, when we first set ourselves targets for water, we have broadened our efforts, working with supply chain and community partners to address water challenges. We’re also working with business partners to find more cost-effective ways of reducing our water use.

Collective Efforts to Find Solutions

Ford is one of more than 140 companies worldwide that endorses the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. Our water strategy aligns with the six core elements of the mandate, which focus on Direct Operations; Supply Chain and Watershed Management; Collective Action; Public Policy; Community Engagement; and Transparency.

Water Reductions in Our Direct Operations...

In 2018, we’re starting to closely track the percentage of non-freshwater used in our operations and to find alternative sources like greywater and wastewater from other organizations.

 Case Study

How We Reached 100 Percent Recycled Water for Operations at Chihuahua and Chennai

At our Chennai site in India and our Chihuahua Engine Plant in Mexico, we use only potable water for domestic use while using treated non-potable water sources in production.

At both facilities, we have developed partnerships with local authorities to invest in infrastructure to facilitate the recycling and reuse of treated municipal wastewater.

Over 10 years ago in Chihuahua, we began treating externally sourced treated wastewater to achieve 100 percent recycled water for operational uses with potable water for domestic use only. After treating and extracting the recycled water, any final discharge from our recovery system goes to an evaporation lagoon, eliminating any discharge from the site. In 2018, the site was expanded with a new three-pipe water distribution system. This new system uses not only high-quality treated wastewater in production and potable water for domestic use, but also quality treated gray wastewater for use in toilets, which reduces the plant’s freshwater demand even further.

At Chennai, we utilize wastewater from our own site and treated wastewater from the local supplier park to feed our recycling system. The treated wastewater goes through a three-stage reverse osmosis system, followed by evaporation and crystallization. This maximizes the amount of recycled water we can extract and eliminates any liquid discharge from the facility.

At Ford manufacturing facilities worldwide, we are always looking for ways – both hi-tech and otherwise – to reduce net water usage. These include utilizing stormwater, installing minimum quantity lubricant (MQL) machining, and the installation of dry paint booths.

Internal and external treated wastewater recycling is a critical piece of Ford’s “Go Further” water conservation mindset, and our successes in Chennai and Chihuahua create a framework for exploring alternative water sources at other facilities as we move forward.

Our Chihuahua Plant uses 100% recycled water for operations and toilets.

...With Our Suppliers

We recognize that we can’t tackle water issues by ourselves, and that our water impact doesn’t stop at our factory walls – it includes the impacts of the suppliers who make parts and components for us. That’s why we have a formal program to reduce our broader footprint: the Partnership for a Cleaner Environment (PACE) program. A truly collaborative effort, this voluntary program fosters partnerships to solve challenges and shares best practices with suppliers.

Ford suppliers participating in PACE are on track to save an estimated 782 million gallons of water over the next five years – enough to fill 1,192 Olympic-sized swimming pools – according to data collected in 2017.

  • Five suppliers expect to save 244 million gallons by reusing process wastewater, rainwater and reclaimed condensate in other facility processes
  • Other PACE participants report that their savings will be achieved by implementing closed-loop cooling, upgrading equipment, engaging and training employees, and developing a comprehensive water balance for each facility

...and in Our Communities

Hundreds of employee volunteers are also engaged in our community-based efforts to conserve water and promote responsible water stewardship.

  • In Thailand, Ford volunteers installed a water system for a nursery’s agriculture project, as part of the renovation of the Special Education Center in Rayong, and helped build a solar-powered water system for Ban Bueng Ta Ta School through the Water Go Green project.
  • Ford Argentina employees work with a local NGO, Movimiento Agua y Juventud, to give rural communities and schools access to safe water. In December 2017, a project to provide access to safe water supplies in two communities in Santiago del Estero Province was completed, with 270 beneficiaries.