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Ford looks to reduce carbon footprint in supply chain

Ford has surveyed the energy use and carbon emissions of 128 global suppliers in an effort to reduce the company's global carbon footprint.


Using post-consumer materials and finding more energy-efficient ways to produce vehicles are just part of Ford Motor Co.'s strategy to reduce the company's global carbon footprint.

Ford is looking at the energy use and carbon emissions of 128 global suppliers. These suppliers account for nearly 60 percent of the company's $65 billion in annual purchases.

In 2010, the automaker surveyed 35 top suppliers that make seats, steering systems, tires, and metal components. What Ford discovered was how much the companies varied in their readiness to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the 2010 survey results, 80 percent of respondents said they track their carbon emissions, and 50 percent of those companies indicated that they externally report their emissions.

Jonathan Newton, supply chain sustainability analyst for Ford, said that the company's 2011 Supplier Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Survey Program launched in March 2011 and data collection concluded in August. And now Ford is analyzing those responses.

Newton told CNET that Ford has worked with other automakers and Tier 1 suppliers at the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) to develop a guideline for estimating, collecting and reporting GHG emission data and to arrange information requests with other automakers.

"Our goal is to better understand the carbon footprint of our supply chain and use the data to create a broad-based carbon management approach for our supply chain," Newton said. "We have a comprehensive commitment and strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our products and operations which enhances our competitiveness. We hope to help promote similar competitiveness throughout the automotive supply chain."

Ford has been one of the automotive leaders in greenhouse gas management and CO2 trading and reporting, Newton said. Climate-related legislation and regulation increasingly affect the auto industry with corresponding economic risks and opportunities to our companies. Collection of supply chain GHG emissions data provides Ford and our suppliers the ability to better understand these risks and opportunities, he added.

"Ford Motor Company seeks to better understand the risks and opportunities that climate change presents to our own operations and those of our suppliers," Newton said.

Ford's plans don't stop here; the company recently participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Program. And Ford expects to survey suppliers annually regarding energy use and carbon emissions.