DEARBORN, Michigan – Today, Ford’s global water-saving strategies were outlined in front of lifestyle and automotive journalists at Ford’s “Sustainability Blues” event, which formed part of this year’s three day “Go Further with Ford” trend conference in Dearborn, Michigan. The discussion focused on water conservation, a main pillar in Ford’s global green mission.
Todd Walton, environmental quality manager, Ford Asia Pacific, was joined by thought leaders Christoph Gorder, president of Charity: Water; George McGraw, founder of DigDeep; and Rob Frederick, director of corporate responsibility for wine and spirits company Brown-Forman, to share strategies for protecting and managing the Earth’s water resources.
“For more than a decade Ford has been committed to decreasing its water footprint,” said Walton. “Using water-saving initiatives across its global facilities, the company has reduced water use in everything from cooling towers to paint operations, resulting in a 62 percent drop in total global water consumption between 2000 and 2012—a saving of 10.6 billion gallons.”
Walton outlined Ford’s newly announced global water strategy, and how pioneering technologies and supply chain management are already saving water in some of the most water-scarce regions on the planet. In AP, the Chennai Vehicle Assembly and Engine Plant in Tamil Nadu, India, now discharges zero wastewater and recycles the maximum amount of water for re-use in the production process.
At the Changan Ford Engine Plant and the newly opened Transmission Plant in Chongqing, a new technique called Minimum Quantity Lubricant drastically reduces coolant and water use compared to conventional wet machining. For a production line producing 450,000 engines, this technology saves around 282,000 gallons of water per year.
“Ford has been growing in many areas of the world where water access and availability are a concern,” said Walton. “So we’ve been actively working there to help people get access to fresh drinking water. In India, we have launched projects to install water filters in government-run pre-school centers for children and primary schools near our plants. We also run campaigns to communicate the importance of clean drinking water for children.”
Ford is also in South China, where they built water tanks to help people collect rain water; South Africa, where they installed play pumps to help people get water instead of using donkeys; Thailand, where Ford volunteers built a bamboo dam for water conservation in Rayong; and Indonesia, where Ford volunteers installed a water desalinization equipment for a village near Jakarta.
Ford was ranked No.1 in a survey of the world’s Best Green Brands, by brand consultancy Interbrand and auditing firm Deloitte. The award recognized Ford’s commitment to water conservation and commended its transparency when addressing the issue of water use in manufacturing. Ford executives recently signed the CEO Water Mandate, expanding the company’s commitment to water conservation and the environment. The company also announced it has cut water use since 2009 per vehicle by 30 percent globally, two years ahead of schedule.
Water scarcity is a rising issue globally. More than 780 million people live without access to fresh drinking water. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Ford believes that re-thinking how we value water and disclosing industrial use is a critical first step in reducing these strains and safeguarding future water supplies.
A copy of Ford’s 2014 Sustainability Report, with full details on Ford’s green initiatives and commitment to environmentally responsible manufacturing and water conservation, can be downloaded here.