Ford Motor Company has set a water reduction target in its manufacturing and assembly line processes of 30% per vehicle by 2015. The application of this policy governs every aspect of production. Manufacturing a car from beginning end including four tires and a spare consumes on average close to 190,000 liters (50,000 gallons) of water. Ford manufactures vehicles at 200 factories worldwide which produce close to 10,000 a day. So that means Ford’s typical daily water consumption for vehicle production equals 1.9 billion liters (500 million gallons) of water.
Ford is no stranger to committing the company to decrease water use. It began an initiative in 2000 setting a 3% annual reduction goal per year. The company since then has reduced total global water use by 62% or over 40 billion liters (10.6 billion gallons). Now the company is tracking water discharged from manufacturing plants with a goal to begin implementing gray water recycling programs. Ford sees reduction in water use at all stages of its manufacturing and supply chain as a way for it to contribute to lowering both its water usage and carbon footprint.
So where is all that water being used for vehicle production? Here are just a few of the areas where water use is significant:
- the steel and aluminum that makes up much of the body of vehicles;
- the fossil fuels used for vehicle parts, lubricants and fuel;
- the tires each consuming more than 4,000 liters or 1,000 gallons;
- the rinsing processes on the production line.
A growing number of companies are recognizing that climate risk management is extremely important. Companies in food and beverage, insurance, investment, technology and energy industries have created Business ADAPT which is part of the Value Chain Climate Resilience Guide, created by Acclimatise.
Business ADAPT provides a five-step guide to address climate change challenges. It helps companies identify climate-risks throughout their manufacturing and supply chain and develop internal strategies that can be implemented and measured. More importantly the tool has been designed to evolve to incorporate new methodologies and technologies as they emerge and incorporate them into reduction and mitigation processes.
So kudos to Ford and all the other companies that are taking freshwater scarcity and climate change seriously, seeing the importance of being good corporate citizens in the fight to reduce both their water and carbon footprints.