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Human Rights and Working Conditions

Ford was the first automaker to recognize that protecting human rights in our operations and our supply chain is an important sustainability issue, and we remain committed to respecting human rights everywhere that we operate. Our human rights and working conditions program is an integral part of our efforts to develop a more sustainable and ethical supply chain.

Our Approach to Safeguarding Human Rights

We aim to ensure that everything we make – or that others make for us – is consistent with local law and our own commitment to protecting human rights.

This commitment, in our own operations and in those of our suppliers, is embodied in our Policy Letter 24 (pdf, 156kb): Ford Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Corporate Responsibility. This code is based on internationally recognized labor standards, including the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; International Labour Organization Covenants; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises; and the United Nations’ Global Compact Principles.

Policy Letter 24 outlines our commitments on key human and labor rights issues such as working hours, child labor and forced labor, human trafficking, health and safety, harassment and discrimination, and freedom of association. It also:

  • Articulates our commitment to be a good corporate citizen and how we work to implement policies and programs to benefit the communities in which we operate
  • Encourages suppliers to adopt and enforce similar policies for their own suppliers and subcontractors

This commitment requires a robust approach to safeguarding against human rights abuses in our supply chain. This approach includes:

  • Analyzing the risks related to human rights and working conditions associated with our supply base on a regular basis (see below)
  • Conducting training and working to build our suppliers’ capability
  • Auditing our Tier 1 suppliers in high-priority locations to ensure their continued compliance with legal requirements and Ford’s standards
  • Collaborating with others in multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships to drive positive change throughout the automotive industry

See our United Nations’ Guiding Principles Reporting Framework page for further detail on how we’re meeting our responsibility to respect human rights.

  Find out more about how we’re helping suppliers manage their environmental impacts

Prioritizing Our Efforts

Due to the size and reach of our global supply base, we focus our efforts on suppliers located in countries that pose the highest risk for substandard working conditions.

To determine those priority locations, we conduct an annual risk analysis, incorporating internal and external data, and input from external stakeholders. The internal data includes information such as the commodities being purchased and the supplier’s location, annual spend, and training and audit history within Ford’s Supply Chain Sustainability program. As a result of this analysis, our list of 22 high-priority countries remained unchanged in 2016 (see map below).

In addition, our Purchasing Supplier Technical Assistance (STA) representatives are trained to identify and report potential warning indicators for human rights violations in any supplier location around the world. As a result, when individual circumstances arise, we routinely work with suppliers outside these locations to ensure that our expectations continue to be met.

Human Rights and Working Conditions Program: Priority Countries

Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela
Asia: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam
Europe, Middle East and Africa: Morocco, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Turkey

Case Study

Ethical Recruiting

In 2016, we reviewed our internal policies and procedures to ensure they aligned with the fundamental tenets of ethical recruiting. We require that Ford employees and their agents shall not:

  • Destroy, conceal, confiscate or otherwise deny access by an employee to the employee’s identity or immigration documents, such as passports or driver’s licenses, regardless of issuing authority

  • Use misleading or fraudulent practices during the recruitment of employees or offering of employment

  • Charge employees recruitment fees

Our review of our operations resulted in no significant findings in our own facilities. Our 2017 Supplier Social Responsibility and Anti-Corruption Requirements Web-Guide will include similar expectations of our suppliers.

In 2016, all our supplier audits included a review of ethical recruiting standards. We found 16 non-conformances related to ethical recruiting expectations, and are working with the suppliers to implement corrective actions to resolve these issues.

 Read more about employee attraction and retention and see the “No Fees” initiative from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) for more information on ethical recruiting

Taking the Lead on Forced Labor and Human Trafficking

In line with our zero-tolerance policy toward both forced labor and child labor, we have taken a number of actions to safeguard against the threat of these issues in our supply chain. These include maintaining compliance with all applicable legislative initiatives, acts and regulations designed to increase supply chain transparency. These legislative initiatives include the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (SB 657); the U.K. Modern Slavery Act (UK-MSA); and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (52.222-50, Combating Trafficking in Persons).

For further information about the steps we are taking toward leadership in the field of human rights and working conditions, download our Human Trafficking Disclosure Statement (pdf, 104kb) and read our disclosure statement on compliance with the U.K. Modern Slavery Act.