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Ford Sustainability Report: Energy Down 12%

Ford’s relative energy consumption fell 11.8 percent from 2,778 kWh per vehicle in 2011 to 2,449 kWh per vehicle last year, according to the company’s 2012 sustainability report.

Its absolute energy consumption fell 9.7 percent, from 15.5 billion to 14 billion kWh.

The automaker’s efficiency initiatives last year included continued implementation of a new parts-washing system developed with ABB Robotics, and upgrades to T8 and T5H lighting under performance contracts. Ford says it invested more than $20 million in energy efficiency and related upgrades to its manufacturing base in 2012.

Since 2007, it has used a utility metering and monitoring system for plant-level electricity and natural gas data at all Ford plants in North America. It is expanding the system globally and working to obtain data down to the department level. Ford is also upgrading and aligning building management systems across its facilities.

The company has a five-year objective of improving operational energy use per vehicle by 25 percent by 2016, and improving global energy efficiency by 6.4 percent, both against a 2011 baseline. Ford says it will normalize the energy efficiency measure for weather and production levels.

Report overview

The report is available online and as a PDF download, though that document will prove sluggish for many readers at a whopping 558 pages. The web-based report, on the other hand, is easy to navigate. EL readers will find content of interest in the Climate Change and the Environment section (and its special Data sub-section), the Water section (and its Data sub-section), under Ford’s Goals, Commitments and Status, and under Performance Summary.

The report is self-declared at Global Reporting Initiative level A, and a Ceres stakeholder committee – including representatives from environmental groups and socially responsible investors – reviewed Ford’s materiality analysis and report outline.


Ford’s worldwide facility CO2 emissions per vehicle fell 1 percent from 2011 to 2012, from 0.91 to 0.90 metric tons, with a 37 percent reduction since 2000. It is aiming for a 30 percent cut by 2025, from a 2010 baseline.

Absolute emissions held steady over the year at 5.1 million metric tons, which is 47 percent below 2000 levels.

In April, Ford announced that it would expand the capacity of its 3-Wet paint process by 50 percent this year, adding the system to four more plants on three continents. The process allows three layers of paint to be applied while each layer is still wet, eliminating the need for a dedicated oven and blowers. This cuts CO2 emissions by 15 to 25 percent and volatile organic compound emissions by 10 percent, compared to conventional systems, Ford says.

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