Ford: A Quiet Shade of Green

Ford: A Quiet Shade of Green

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I currently have a General Motors vehicle and have noticed on all the major “green” websites or high traffic sites with ad agencies, there are GM ads for their Hybrid SUV.  I never see Ford anywhere and this made me wonder. Is Ford not a “going green” company? GM is all about the bloggers and they were even doing the drive and rides at Blogher D.C. So what’s up Ford?

I’ve learned,  Ford just isn’t beating their chests and shouting to the world what they are doing about sustainability because it isn’t just a marketing ploy to them. They’re just quiet.  Did you know that they’re Rough plant has the second largest living green roof, in the world? Haven’t seen that in a banner ad. How about the fact that the lights automatically shut off in their office buildings at 6:30pm to conserve energy. If you need lights and have to work later, you have to use your cell phone and over ride the system with how many additional minutes you will need. No wasted energy.

Scott Monty, the head of social networking for Ford and big wig Blog World 2008 speaker, told me they see sustainability at all levels because Ford is and always has been dedicated to being eco-friendly. The office paper and business cards are on recycled paper and the pencils are made from reclaimed denim. The company is working on using soy beans to cut down on the use of chemicals and the use of petroleum. That’s super green and eco-savvy, again I have not seen a banner ad about this. You?  I even learned that Henry Ford was working with soy beans all the way back to the Model-T and they were used in paint. Super cool for the farmers in Michigan because this could mean more jobs and that would really help the Michigan economy.  Ford is the only company using soy beans to help reduce their carbon footprint.  Allergies to soy or beans? Don’t worry, they use the oil not the protein and unless you will be digesting a seat cushion, it seems you will be a-okay.

The company is using approximately 2.2 million pounds of soy foam in the 2008 Mustang. Based on this application alone, this more energy-conscious alternative potentially represents a carbon dioxide reduction of 605,000 pounds annually.

Mustang isn’t the only product sporting the new seat cushions and seat backs. The 2008 Ford F-150 and Expedition, along with the Lincoln Navigator, also feature the soy-based materials. The Ford Escape will join the lineup in 2009.

What impresses me the most about Ford is the commitment to mapping out change for the future, having a strategy to reduce carbon emissions as a company and really committing to their responsibility. They have this fancy big sustainability report with tons of facts, research and details on exactly how they will accomplish this and what their goals are.  I like the big report but I’m sure very few of you will read it like I have. With this being said, let me highlight a few things that struck me.

>The report is not just comprised of hybrid facts or details. It doesn’t just focus on carbon emissions. Instead it takes into account the economy, human rights, safety, infrastructure and city pollution and congestion, and the sustainability of Ford as a company. I’m sure Scott Monty is happy that Ford is looking after the sustainability of his job as well as all the other hundreds of hard working employees!

>Ford is collecting the data and trying to get down to the heart of their waste and how they are contributing as a company. Factories, companies, they make pollution but what are they doing to reduce the waste and how much waste are they creating? Water consumption? Ford is collecting the data to look at what they can do. Reflection is a pretty deep word but they’re reflecting.

>VOC emissions and the health of their employees matter.  Who paints the vehicles and what do they breath? In 2007 Ford changed how things were done at their Kentucky plant to eliminate the source of the VOC emissions. Healthier for the environment and healthier for the employees.

The entire report is impressive but the scope of just how green the company is and what they are seeking to accomplish long term and without all the bells and whistles and “look at us”, we’re riding the green marketing wagon. I like this. GM also has a sustainability report and environmental section with tons of awards and basically glam. It’s equally as impressive but when I went from the Ford site to the GM site I get very different impressions. One is friendly, warm and genuine (Ford) and the other is to the point, black and white here we are and this is why we think we are the best (General Motors). Just my opinion but it is marketing and GM just doesn’t seem as personal to me. My local dealership, they’re very personal, friendly and nice though. Thank goodness! I’m just making an observation and seeing that we have to GM vehicles at our home, I can’t really say I dislike the company but I also have family ties to the Ford company, which sparked my curiosity. I hope to visit the actual plant in Dearborn, Michigan sometime soon to ask more questions and get a hands on look.

I do have to say,  I still find it odd that a CEO of a GM publicly said global warming was a farce. Hmmm? Shrug shoulders. Weird. I’m all for automakers being resourceful and heading in the eco-friendly direction but I’d like to know more about what the different companies are doing and Ford is one company I just did not know much about, now I do and so do you. I can’t say I don’t know much about the company though, just not how the company is moving towards being eco-friendly for an automaker.  I have been to the Henry Ford museum, several times and my grandpa is a retireed Ford employee that actually invented a part, still used today. I also have a cousin who is an engineer for Ford. The heritage is really very intriquing and if you ever visit Michigan (you should because our economy needs you too) you should head to the museum!

Hi, I’m Sommer (@greenmom) and I’ve been calling this my blogging home for 9 years. I’m a juggler of life, a protective mama bear and I enjoy travel, wine, sunshine and good books. I’m passionate about inspiring others to live a little healthier and greener each day. I’m many things but above all I’m a believer in karma and the good in people. I’m a children’s book author, public speaker and consultant. My full-time gig is working as a Marketing Manager for Freshbaby.com and helping to encourage everyone to eat healthier. Check out my about me page for more details.

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  • tabitha

    Excellent article!

    We recently purchased a new car and while I would have loved to have a hybrid we just couldn’t afford it. Interestingly, my new car is a Ford and I was wondering how much damage I was doing with my car (which I try not to drive often but I don’t live close to stores or anywhere else I need to go so I have to).

    After reading your post about hybrids I wasn’t feeling so bad and now I really don’t feel bad. As a matter of fact, I’m even more proud of my car than before. Because I really love my car.

  • Great post. Sometimes as consumers we concentrate on the end product when we should be looking at the whole product and that is what you brought to my attention. Not just emissions but is the whole company making attempts to be green.

    Allisons last blog post..GSG: Brew Your Own

  • Sommer, thank you for this summary of only a fraction of the things we’re doing at Ford. Henry Ford was a visionary and he was committed to making affordable cars for the masses, and that’s a mindset that stays with us to this day.

    We’re less interested in a one-off solution that may be an alternative to traditional gas-powered vehicles if it’s too expensive or has unproven technology with questionable effects on the environment. Just as we’re committed to sustainable activities throughout our company, we want to see innovations in fuel economy that extend across an entire fleet of vehicles.

    We’ll be doing more to tell our story – in the humble Ford way – but with help this time around. I hope you and your readers will stay tuned, because we’ve got some truly amazing things to share.

    Scott Monty
    Global Digital Communications
    Ford Motor Company

  • It is funny that the GM CEO does not comment more on its zero landfill plants that are popping up all over the country. Interesting, so do not feel so bad about that GM vehicle, they are at least making an attempt in a big way to be green!!!

  • Anonymous

    Ford is a good car 🙂

  • well, Thanks for publishing! I really loved the report.