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Water Use

Water is far more than an environmental concern. At Ford, we recognize the human right to clean, affordable drinking water and adequate, accessible sanitation, and focus on responsible water stewardship in our operations.

Our Approach

Water Matters

According to WaterSense, an EPA partnership program, less than 1 percent of all the planet’s water is available for human use and the remaining 99 percent is salt water in oceans, freshwater frozen in polar ice caps or water inaccessible for practical use.

This is one of the reasons we are managing this critical resource.

Watch a video about Ford’s approach to managing water use.

We’re Part of the Collective Effort to Find Solutions

Ford has joined with over 140 companies worldwide to endorse the UN Global Compact CEO Water Mandate. Our water strategy aligns with the six core elements of the mandate, which focuses on:

  • Direct Operations

  • Supply Chain and Watershed Management

  • Collective Action

  • Public Policy

  • Community Engagement

  • Transparency

We Work Inside and Outside Our Fence Line

Water issues like scarcity and pollution intersect with climate change risks and affect communities and businesses everywhere. Ford operates in water-stressed regions of the world such as India. It’s our responsibility to conserve water and widely promote its stewardship.

Since our earliest focus on water (we began to set targets as far back as 2000), we have broadened our efforts and are working in our communities and supply chain to address water challenges:

In Our Communities

During Ford Global Caring Month in September, some 20,000 Ford volunteers will participate in hundreds of community service projects around the world.

The winning project in the inaugural Bill Ford Better World Challenge is focused on the human right to water. Centered in a rural area of Thailand, the project benefits from a $200,000 grant and the participation of hundreds of Ford volunteers working with local communities, to improve access to clean water in rural schools and neighborhoods.

  Read more about the Thailand Clean Water Community Project

With Our Suppliers

Through our Partnership for A Cleaner Environment (PACE), we offer participating suppliers best practices and monitoring tools to help them track and achieve their own sustainability goals. In return, the suppliers report their environmental progress and share their own best practices.

Ford suppliers participating in our voluntary PACE program are on track to save an estimated 550 million gallons of water over the next five years – enough to fill 837 Olympic swimming pools– according to data collected in 2016.

  See our front page story on supply chain partnerships for more information about PACE

Our Performance

We Continue to Reduce Our Water Use in Vehicle Production

From 2000 to 2016, we saved over 10 billion gallons of water. That’s enough to fill over 15,000 competition-sized swimming pools.

This saving was achieved through implementing our water strategy, introducing new technologies and developing our processes. We’re continuing our program by rolling out real-time water metering to aggressively manage our use, and conducting water assessments to determine where new conservation measures can be applied.

In 2016, we continued our trend of continuous improvement with a further saving. For every vehicle we make, we now use 3.7 cubic meters of water (2015: 3.9 cubic meters) – that’s 62 percent less water per vehicle produced compared to 2000.

Our Second “A” Grade for Water Conservation

Ford is one of only 24 A-listed companies (out of 600 assessed) in the CDP 2016 benchmark, and the only North American company in the “consumer discretionary” category.

The business case for action to improve water security has never been stronger or more urgent. We congratulate Ford Motor Company for achieving a position on CDP’s Water A List. The company is responding to market demand for environmental accountability and at the same time making progress toward achieving a water-secure world.”

Morgan Gillespy,Head of Water at CDP

  Read why water is vital to climate action in CDP’s Global Water Report 2016 (written on behalf of 643 investors with $67 trillion in assets)

Looking Ahead: Our Water Strategy to 2020

We updated our long-term water strategy in 2016, using results from water futuring work, which considered a number of “what if” scenarios, and CERES AquaGauge results. Aqua Gauge is a comprehensive assessment tool for evaluating corporate management of water risk. Our updated strategy reflects our focus on infrastructure, communication and collaboration; the priority we give to understanding water challenges in their local context; and our ongoing commitment to transparent reporting.

Having achieved our previous goal two years ahead of schedule, our water strategy sets out a new, aggressive target – to save an additional 30 percent of water per vehicle produced between 2015 and 2020 – representing a 72 percent reduction in water use per vehicle over that period. It’s a first step toward achieving our aspiration to manufacture vehicles without withdrawing any potable (drinking) water for our processes.

Our Sanand assembly and engine plants, India.

Case Study

Sanand Water Conservation, India

Our Sanand vehicle assembly and engine plants in India have one of Ford’s largest and most advanced water and wastewater treatment facilities. After being treated, 30 to 35 percent of gray water from office washrooms, canteen and manufacturing operations is recycled for use in the paint shop and other processes.

We have invested in a fully automatic irrigation system, enabling us to use the remainder of the treated wastewater to maintain lawns and planting, further reducing our freshwater consumption. The system irrigates the green spaces at regular intervals depending on the climatic conditions.

100% of treated gray water at our Sanand facility is recycled and reused within the property.

These measures have saved 219,000 cubic meters of freshwater in 2016 and mean that there is zero wastewater discharge at the Sanand plants. We will continue to focus on ways to reduce freshwater consumption, including optimizing manufacturing processes and developing rainwater harvesting techniques.

Read more about how Ford plants across the globe are recycling and reusing water: