Ford Expands Energy & Carbon Tracking in Supply Chain

Ford Motor Company has more than tripled the size of its program to understand and measure suppliers' carbon footprint. The company will begin surveying the energy use and carbon emissions of 128 global suppliers, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the company's $65 billion in annual purchases.

The new group is an expansion of last year's survey population, which included 35 top suppliers. It includes companies that supply vehicle production parts and components, information technology and logistics services.

The suppliers in the 2010 request included companies that make commodities such as seats, steering systems, tires and metal components, which require more energy to produce and thus have a larger carbon footprint. A key finding from the 2010 responses was variability in supplier readiness to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. The responses received provided valuable insight into the risk management opportunities for the broader automotive supply base. From these results, 80 percent of respondents indicated that they track their carbon emissions, and 50 percent of those companies indicated that they externally report their emissions.

"The results clearly demonstrated that those high-impact suppliers that we had hoped were paying attention to greenhouse gas emissions, in fact were doing so," says Monique Oxender, global manager of Ford's supply chain sustainability. "However, these results may not represent the broader global automotive supply base's readiness to track, report and proactively manage carbon emissions."

In addition to establishing a baseline for its own supply chain carbon footprint, Ford has assisted industry development of a guideline for estimating, collecting and reporting manufacturing facility-based greenhouse gas emission data. The company has helped to convene other automakers and Tier 1 suppliers at the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) to develop the guidelines and streamline information requests from automakers to suppliers.

Ford is one of two automakers participating in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Supply Chain Program for 2011. Ford was also the only automotive company to participate in the roadtest of the new corporate value chain (Scope 3) greenhouse gas reporting standard developed by the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD).

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