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Ford cuts water use two years ahead of schedule

Ford Motor Company is furthering its commitment to aggressively step up water conservation programs at its global facilities and among the company’s suppliers, according to its 15 annual Sustainability Report, released today. Last year Ford reduced per vehicle water use by 30% globally from a 2009 baseline, reaching its goal two years ahead of schedule. Plans are under way to further cut water use by another 2% this year and to set new long-term goals.

In April, Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally endorsed the CEO Water Mandate to more clearly define the company’s mission. The private-public initiative launched by the UN Secretary General in 2007 requires participating companies to report their water management progress annually.

Later this year, Ford will begin asking high water-use suppliers and those working in water-stressed regions to voluntarily report water consumption. Ford will then work with the suppliers to achieve reductions. The hope is that successful initiatives will be mirrored by other suppliers globally, helping Ford to significantly reduce its environmental footprint.

One example of Ford’s global success with water conservation is Cuautitlán Stamping and Assembly Plant in Cuautitlán, Mexico.

Built in 1964, the plant is located in a water-scarce region. Over the decades, the city has become host to many international corporations, including beverage companies that use large volumes of water. By 1990, the Cuautitlán government recognized that water demand was outstripping supply and began limiting water use and imposing stricter permitting.

Changes implemented by Ford at the facility include:

  • Installing dedicated piping for potable water to ensure it is used only for human consumption;

  • Recycling all other water used at the plant; and

  • Replacing asphalt with ecological concrete, which allows rain to reenter the ground.

The result: An almost 58% reduction in water use per vehicle produced at Cuautitlán Stamping and Assembly Plant between 2000 and 2013.

Ford began strategically working to improve the company’s water impact globally in 2000 by setting year-over-year reduction targets as part of its Global Water Management Initiative. The success of the initiative is measurable.

Not only has the company reached its water-use-per-vehicle goal two years ahead of schedule, it cut global water use by 61%, or by more than 10 billion gallons, between 2000 and 2013—the equivalent of 1 billion five-minute-long showers, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The total amount of water used around the globe at Ford facilities went from 64 million cubic meters per year to 25 million cubic meters.


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