DEARBORN – Ford reduced the average amount of water used to make each vehicle by 8.5 percent between 2011 and 2012 – putting the company more than halfway toward its current goal of using an average of just 4 cubic meters per vehicle globally by 2015.
Since 2000, Ford has reduced the amount of water it uses in everything from cooling towers to parts washing and paint operations by 10.6 billion gallons, or 62 percent. That’s equal to the amount of water used by nearly 99,000 U.S. residences annually, or enough to fill 16,000 Olympic-size pools. Ford’s reduced consumption rates mean even more to regions around the world struggling with water-related issues like drought and extensive population growth.
Ford’s water reduction success is a result of the company’s commitment to reduce the amount of water it uses by aggressively monitoring and managing just about every drop of water going into and out of its facilities and properties, says Andy Hobbs, director, Environmental Quality Office.
Since 2000, Ford decreased the total amount of water used around the world annually from 64 million cubic meters to 24 million cubic meters.
“That’s about 10.6 billion gallons of water that was conserved and went to use somewhere else,” says Hobbs.
Ford voluntarily launched its Global Water Management Initiative in 2000, putting in place ways to manage water conservation, quality and reuse of storm and process water. Ford’s water strategy complements the company’s overall Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibilities.
“Ford recognizes the critical importance of water, and is committed to conserving water and using it responsibly,” says Robert Brown, vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Many vehicle manufacturing processes require water and the resource is used at every point in our supply chain.”
Ford aims to use an average of 1,056 gallons of water to make each vehicle globally –consistent with its overall goal of a 30 percent reduction in the amount of water used per vehicle between 2009 and 2015. That is slightly more than the 1,000 gallons fire engine tankers in the U.S. are required to contain in their tanks. One cubic meter of water is equal to 264 gallons.
Continuing the progress
Ford had a positive impact on the world’s water supply in many ways during 2012. The Ford Fund, for example, supported 19 different water-related projects in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, India, Germany and South Africa.
One project in arid Southwest China, for instance, involved 60 Ford employees from Nanjing, who helped eight families build water cellars designed to capture water during the rainy season to store and use during drier times of the year.
At the same time, Ford’s biggest water-related projects were within its own facilities and included:
•Cologne Engine Plant (Germany): Decreased water use by 50 percent per engine through implementation of a dry-machining process
•Silverton Assembly Plant (South Africa): Began using a $2.5 million on-site wastewater treatment plant increasing the amount of water that can be reused by up to 15 percent
•Chennai Assembly Plant (India): Installed a new system that began operating in September and allows the plant to recycle 100 percent of its water
•Chongqing Assembly 1 and Chongqing Assembly 2 (China): Both plants added advanced water treatment equipment to improve recycling. CAF1 recycles an average 100,000 gallons daily, and CAF2 an average 65,000 gallons
•Louisville Assembly Plant (U.S.): Recently replaced parking lot asphalt with pervious paving blocks to manage stormwater runoff, helping protect nearby bodies of freshwater
These accomplishments reflect Ford’s overall approach to water use, which emphasizes several goals:
•Minimizing water use and consumption at Ford facilities
•Finding ways to use alternative, lower-quality water sources
•Prioritizing water technology investments based on local water scarcity and cost effectiveness
•Meeting either local quality standards or Ford global standards for wastewater discharge – whichever is more stringent at each Ford location
•Ensuring a stable water supply for Ford manufacturing facilities while working with local communities to minimize impact
More information about Ford’s water use-related efforts can be found in the company’s annual sustainability report that is released annually every June. The most recent version can be found here.