CHONGQING, China — For Ford, being “green” is by no means an empty corporate promise—it’s a material issue that impacts our long-term business. As an automaker in a resource-constrained world, addressing tomorrow’s societal and environmental challenges is critical to sustaining the company’s long term success.
At Ford's manufacturing base in Chongqing soon to become its second largest production site in the world after Detroit--Ford China delivered its sustainability message through a "Green Date” that showcased several aspects of its green strategy and demonstrated that at Ford, growth and sustainability always go hand-in-hand.
Shortly after the launch of Ford’s 2011/2012 Sustainability Report, Ford China invited more than 50 media, bloggers and influential Chinese NGOs to a two-day event: “Ford Green Date.” At the event, journalists were given direct access to Ford experts who shared Ford’s sustainable product, manufacturing, materials, and community story. Journalists were later taken on a “green manufacturing tour” to see cutting-edge green technologies like the three-wet paint firsthand.
“At Ford, we believe that sustainability means meeting the needs of today without compromising the future." said Dave Schoch, chairman and CEO, Ford China, who closed the event providing participants with an executive perspective on Ford’s sustainability strategy. "As an auto manufacturer committed to sustainable development, Ford has made "green" part of its DNA.”
In addition to meeting with Dave Schoch, participants had a chance to talk directly with four Ford experts who provided them with a comprehensive view of Ford's initiatives on sustainable: materials expert Andy Pan; powertrain lead Dr. Jim Zhang; environmental manager Steven Gao; and long-time Ford employee volunteer Tina Zhang, who spoke about her experience with Ford’s Conservation and Environmental Grants, China (CEGC). Participants also met Li Li, a 2010 CEGC grantee.
Surprising applications of sustainable materials
Ford expert Andy Pan surprised journalists with a review of Ford's sustainable materials strategy. Pan shared examples of how Ford engineers are actively working to use recycled, renewable, and lightweight materials in Ford vehicles in China.
"At Ford, we have a unique system to explore the possibility of using various renewable materials to make car components, like natural fibers and bio-resins. We call it a 'sustainability idea funnel'," said Pan.
"Green materials can be found in many parts of Ford vehicles, including the interior door trim, carpeting, storage areas, and in the instrument panels. These materials already have several applications in many of our vehicles, like Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo. The Ford Edge, for example, uses up to 9 kilograms of soy-based foam in its seat cushions. Globally we have 5 million vehicles using this renewable material." added he.
Powering a more sustainable future
Speaking about powertrains, Jim Zhang, a Ford China powertrain expert, presented Ford's powertrain strategy and shared news about Ford’s 1.0L EcoBoost engine winning the International Engine of the Year award.
"EcoBoost technology combines three advanced technologies – turbo charging, direct fuel injection and Ti-VCT. These technologies play a big part in delivering on our promise to achieve class leading fuel economy in every segment we enter,” said Zhang.
To better support Ford's aggressive plan to bring 15 new vehicles to China by mid-decade, Ford will introduce 20 new engines and transmissions by 2015.
Green manufacturing: More from every drop
At Chongqing, Ford's newly launched CQ2 plant is a great demonstration of global best practice when it comes to green manufacturing.
Guests had the opportunity during the Green Date to visit the paint shop for the first time and view our green manufacturing processes, in particular the Rotational Dip and Three-Wet technologies, which make the CQ2 plant one of most advanced in Ford's global operations.
"The energy we can save by maximizing a range of state-of-the-art technologies is significant. In the CQ2 plant, in the paint shop alone, we can save up to 61,000 cubic meters of water each year, which is enough to supply 510 Chinese households for a year. Because of the facility’s leading wastewater treatment process, more than 70 percent water at the plant can be reused," said Steven Gao, environment manager for Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.
To help the public better understand what such savings equate to, the figures were translated into something relevant to everyone's daily life.
"By employing these advanced technologies, our paint shop can save 7,000 litres of water every hour, the equivalent of what a person needs to drink for 10 years; enough to water 2,333 plants or take 235 showers," added Gao.
Building a better world
During the event, Schoch also announced the official launch of the 2012 CEGC award, which is entering its 13th year in China.
"CEGC today is one of the largest, longest-standing, corporate-sponsored environmental awards in China. This year, we will continue to support and recognize the efforts of China’s environmental heroes," said Schoch.
Themed as "Strengthening Ecosystems, Celebrating Sustainability," this year’s CEGC program will award RMB 1.5 million（around USD 240,000） to NGOs across two categories.
As of 2011, CEGC has awarded a total of RMB 12.6 million to 278 grassroots organizations and individuals in China. It has also offered capacity building training to 420 grassroots organizations across the country.