Partnering for the Planet With Suppliers

We’re not just working inside our fence line to reduce our impacts. We’re committed to reducing the environmental footprint of our supply chain too, helping our key suppliers identify and share responsible business practices.

Making a Positive Impact

Globally, we rely on thousands of suppliers for the materials, parts and services we need to make our products, so we’re just one part of a much bigger picture. Because the automotive supply chain is so complex, with up to 10 tiers of suppliers and sub-suppliers between manufacturers like Ford and the original source of raw materials, it has the potential to make a big impact on the world around us.

With stakeholders and consumers expecting us to be ever-more sustainable, we foster long-term relationships to help our suppliers meet our standards, ensure continuity of supply, mitigate potential risks and improve their performance.

Through this engagement, we go further to find, share and replicate the best ideas so that we reduce our combined environmental footprint, helping our suppliers “keep pace” with our own efforts to reduce carbon emissions, conserve water and energy, and cut down on waste.

It’s important that we make quality products and minimize the impact on the environment by doing things the right way. Having suppliers that want to share that responsibility shows we can work together to reduce our collective environmental footprint.”

Mary Wroten

Mary Wroten,Senior Manager – Supply Chain Sustainability, Ford Motor Company

Mary Wroten

Best Practice Makes Perfect

The Partnership for A Cleaner Environment (PACE) program is an important part of our ongoing commitment to create a better world. Many sustainability practices have been implemented at our sites around the world, and PACE offers our main strategic suppliers a chance to explore, share and replicate the best examples.

Through PACE, we provide monitoring tools to help our suppliers track and achieve their own sustainability goals... return, they report their environmental progress and share their own best practices.

Last year, a second select group of suppliers were invited to join the voluntary program, bringing the number of participating companies to more than 40.

Our enhanced program now has the potential to impact nearly 1,100 supplier sites.

PACE originally focused on reducing water and energy consumption, but has been expanded to span waste and air emissions too. The PACE toolkit now includes more than 350 leading practices across these four categories.

Requiring different levels of time, commitment and financial investment, these leading practices range from optimizing the operation of cooling towers and using less compressed air in manufacturing operations through to replacing incandescent lightbulbs with LED bulbs. We also promote Energy Treasure Hunts, which allow suppliers to use their own experts to identify additional opportunities to save resources and share their findings with their own suppliers, as well as with Ford.

Putting Our Ideas Through Their PACEs

Watch these videos to see how we’re promoting sustainability best practice with our suppliers.

Tips for reducing water use in cooling tower operations.

Water management: how to get started.

Bigger Steps Leave a Smaller Footprint

Ultimately, sharing best practice for improved environmental sustainability across our supply chain has the potential to make a difference at thousands of individual sites. By adopting them, we estimate that participating suppliers are on track to make great savings in the next five years.

Saving 550 million gallons of water – enough to fill 837 Olympic swimming pools

Saving 500,000 metric tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of eliminating the emissions of more than 50,000 homes a year

For example, Ford supplier DENSO, operating in 38 countries, has been participating in PACE since the program began in 2014. The company has set targets for CO2 reductions in its manufacturing processes, and is also focused on cutting back electricity and water use by installing closed circuit cooling systems and T-8 LED lighting.

At our Valencia plant in Spain – one of the world’s most advanced auto manufacturing facilities – Ford’s industry-first Vision System captures more than a billion photos every fortnight as part of the checks undergone by every single vehicle. Best practice examples such as these are shared with suppliers through our PACE program.

The Secret of Our Success

A key factor in the success of PACE to date was getting our own house in order first.

Only after we’d figured out how we might reduce the environmental footprint of our own facilities were we in a position to scale things up and share our ideas with others.

One of the challenges we faced in developing the program was deciding which suppliers to invite to participate. We currently focus on strategic partners with the greatest potential to make a sustainable, positive impact, such as those located in water-stressed regions and those that use significant amounts of energy.

We also learned that offering suppliers the flexibility to select those practices that align best with their particular goals generates a greater takeup.

More on this topic in the report

Learn more about our efforts to reduce our supply chain footprint:

  Environmental Impact of Our Suppliers