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Building Capacity in Our Supply Chain

Our work to address human rights issues goes beyond our direct operations and extends through our entire supply chain. Training on human rights issues is essential to help our suppliers build their capability to responsibly manage working conditions in their facilities

Prioritizing Our Efforts With Suppliers

Due to the size and complexity of our supply base, we focus our efforts on suppliers located in countries that pose the highest risk for substandard working conditions. To determine these locations, we conduct an annual risk analysis, incorporating internal and external data, and input from external stakeholders. The internal data includes information such as the commodities being purchased and the supplier’s location, annual spend, and training and audit history within Ford’s Supply Chain Sustainability program. As a result of this analysis, our list of 22 high-priority countries remained unchanged in 2017.

Human Rights and Working Conditions Program: Priority Countries

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela
Asia: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Europe, Middle East and Africa: Morocco, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Turkey

Expanding Our Reach

In late 2017, we asked over 500 supplier sites around the world to complete the Sustainability Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) developed by Drive Sustainability. The SAQ is designed to assess the sustainability performance of automotive suppliers in the areas of social and environmental sustainability, business conduct and compliance and supplier management. This tool is based upon the Global Automotive Sustainability Guiding Principles and allows suppliers to share their responses with multiple customers. The data gathered in our 2017 campaign will be considered in conjunction with our internal/external risk analysis to prioritize our activities for 2018.

How We Build Capability

Our approach to training has been developed and launched through the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG). This involves:

  • An e-learning module introducing the concepts covered by the Automotive Industry Guiding Principles, and a knowledge assessment to provide feedback. Training materials are available free of charge to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and to sub-tier suppliers in seven languages.

  • Face-to-face, in-country workshop sessions, customized for the unique conditions in each country and focusing on specific national laws and local best practice. These sessions encourage dialogue with suppliers for multiple OEMs. They emphasize the role of human rights in meeting legal obligations, industry guidelines and international best practice. Ford requires participants to verify that they have shared the information with their employees and their own direct suppliers.

Most of our face-to-face supplier training is delivered through the AIAG or Drive Sustainability. Materials are regularly shared with Drive Sustainability to ensure a consistent message across the industry. These materials also serve as the basis for our own Ford-specific workshops.

Training Results

In 2017, the AIAG e-learning module reached more than 1,900 participants, with 42 percent indicating Ford as a customer. During the year, supplier representatives from 203 direct and indirect supplier sites in five countries (Brazil, China, India, Thailand and Turkey) attended in-country training sessions covering human rights, working conditions, business ethics and the environment.

 201520162017Program Total1
Training sessions conducted121410185
Total sites trained/retrained12081612033,549

Data notes and analysis:

  1. Program Total represents cumulative data from 2003 to 2017.

Also see:

We also continue to strengthen our own internal capability for identifying and managing human rights issues. In 2017, we trained 1,518 Ford Purchasing employees, including management and supplier quality teams, on our Policy Letter 24 and Supply Chain Sustainability Program. The training focus is to identify and report warning indicators for any potential human rights violations observed in any supplier location around the world. Since 2014, we have trained or retrained 3,968 Supplier Technical Assistance (STA) personnel.

 Case Study

Driving a Better Tomorrow

Through winning the hearts and minds of our purchasing community, we empower our buyers to make more sustainable sourcing decisions. Driving a Better Tomorrow is a purchasing series created to educate and inspire employees on supply chain sustainability hot topics, trends or best practices. External industry experts are invited to share their perspectives and insights on key areas of interest. This program supports Ford’s journey to drive sustainability integration; as a company, we must ensure that sustainability is part of all key processes and decisions we make.

In May 2018, over 400 buyers participated in a live session on business ethics, responsible sourcing and human trafficking. Industry experts and NGO thought leaders shared how the purchasing organization is impacted by these issues and, more importantly, the role purchasing can play in driving change.

As a company, we must ensure that sustainability is part of all key processes and decisions we make.