Dearborn’s Ford Intends to Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2050, Offers Vehicle Returns for Those Who Lose a Job

Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. has announced its intent to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and has set interim targets to address climate change challenges in the meantime.
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Ford Mustang Mach-E
Ford intends to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Its Mustang Mach-E, pictured, is an all-electric Mustang SUV that will be available later this year. // Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Dearborn’s Ford Motor Co. has announced its intent to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and has set interim targets to address climate change challenges in the meantime.

The company’s 21st annual sustainability report was released on Wednesday. Ford is committed to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and is working with California for stronger vehicle greenhouse gas standards.

Carbon neutrality refers to balancing CO2 emissions with carbon removal. Ford will initially focus on three areas that account for about 95 percent of its CO2 emissions – vehicle use, its supply base, and the company’s facilities.

The company anticipates challenges including customer acceptance, government regulations, economic conditions, and the availability of renewable, carbon-neutral electricity and renewable fuels.

“We can develop and make great vehicles, sustain and grow a strong business, and protect our planet at the same time – in fact, those ideals complement each other,” says Bob Holycross, vice president and chief sustainability, environment, and safety officer. “We don’t have all the answers yet but are determined to work with all of our global and local partners and stakeholders to get there.”

Ford also is working to develop goals approved and defined by the Science Based Targets initiative for its Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from company owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 addresses indirect emissions from generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by Ford. Scope 3 emissions speak to in-use emissions from vehicles that Ford sells and emissions from its supply base, among others.

A cross-functional Ford team from around the world, including the U.S., Europe, and China, developed the company’s carbon-neutral approach after analyzing information on the environment, customers, technology, legislation, energy, competitive approaches, life-cycle assessment, and other trends.

The company is investing more than $11.5 billion in electric vehicles through 2022 and introducing zero-emission versions of some of its most popular nameplates such as the Mustang Mach-E, which is set to arrive in dealerships this year, as well as the Transit Commercial EV and fully electric F-150, coming within 24 months.

Ford previously announced its plan to use 100-percent locally sourced renewable energy such as hydropower, geothermal, wind, or solar, for all its manufacturing plants globally by 2035.

The report also covered employee health and safety; Ford will continue to use amended safety requirements brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During 2019, Ford unveiled its Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric Mustang SUV with a targeted EPA-estimated range of 300 miles on a single charge. As part of the SUV’s reveal, Ford announced the FordPass Charging Network, which the automaker says is North America’s largest public charging network with more than 13,500 charging stations and almost 40,000 individual charge plugs.

Ford continues to work to upcycle, or derive value from waste. It announced a collaboration with McDonald’s USA in 2019 to turn coffee chaff, a waste byproduct from McDonald’s coffee production, into vehicle parts. This reduces use of petroleum to make such components while lowering the weight of those parts by 20 percent and requiring up to 25 percent less energy during the molding process.

Starting in 2007, the company has used soy foam as an alternative to petroleum-based seat foam in the Mustang. Since then, it has expended application of soy foam to all product lines in North America – more than 25 million vehicles to date – preventing hundreds of millions of pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

Ford signed the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles, earned a spot in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second straight year, and received a perfect score of 100 in the 2019 Disability Equality Index, all in February.

The sustainability report also addresses the issue of social injustice, the weight of which the company acknowledges falls on the African American community. Ford has seen disparity among its team members affected by COVID-19 as well as economic disparities in the area. Ford says it is committed to co-creating solutions that better the company and society.

Ford also supports Fair and Equal Michigan’s efforts to amend the state’s civil rights law to protect the LGBTQ+ community and continues its commitment to the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion.

On Wednesday, Holycross and Cynthia Williams, global director of sustainability, homologation, and compliance, will participate in a virtual fireside chat hosted by Rod Lache of Wolfe Research. The Ford executives will discuss the company’s sustainability goals. More information and the chat are available here.

In related news, Ford is offering a program that will allow customers to return new, used, or leased vehicles within the first year of ownership due to the loss of a job. Under the new program, customers who lease or purchase a vehicle with Ford Credit financing and then lose their job within a year can return the vehicle.

Ford Credit will value the vehicle using the National Automobile Dealers Association average trade-in value, reduce the customer’s outstanding balance by that amount, and waive up to an additional $15,000. The customer is responsible for any difference remaining. Once the conditions are met, the account is reported as closed and paid.

The promise covers 2019, 2020, and 2021 purchased or leased new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles through Ford Credit. Commercial use contracts are ineligible, and the protection begins 30 days after vehicle purchase or lease.

“We feel like right now, the economy is at the stage of recovery where people want things to be back to normal, they want to buy, but they’re still a little nervous about what the future holds,” says Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service. “We want them to know we understand that, and we’re here to support them in their buying decisions.”

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