Ford expands program for measuring suppliers' carbon footprint

Company surveying energy use and carbon emissions of 128 global suppliers

October 18, 2011
by Purchasing b2b staff

DEARBORN, MI: Ford Motor Company has more than tripled the size of its program to understand and measure suppliers’ carbon footprint. The company is 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.

“Understanding the carbon footprint of our supply chain is a fundamental part of learning how to reduce the total environmental impact of our industry,” said Tony Brown, group vice-president, Ford Global Purchasing. “By expanding our program to a cross-section of suppliers, we will significantly increase our understanding of suppliers’ ability to manage their carbon impacts and further inform the creation of a broad-based carbon management system.”

Ford said 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 they track their carbon emissions, while 50 percent of those companies said 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,” said 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.”