Ford carbon neutral
Ford's Oakville Assembly Complex - Image credit: Wikimedia

US car manufacturer Ford Motor Company intends to achieve carbon neutrality globally by 2050, while setting interim targets to more urgently address climate change challenges, according to its newly released annual sustainability report.

The manufacturer is the only full-line US car brand committed to doing its part to reduce CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and working with California for stronger vehicle greenhouse gas standards, according to a statement from the company.

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Carbon neutrality refers to achieving zero carbon emissions by balancing such emissions with carbon removal. To achieve its goal, Ford will focus initially on three areas that account for approximately 95% of its CO2 emissions – vehicle use, its supply base and the company’s facilities.

Ford said it is setting the 2050 goal fully aware of 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,” said Bob Holycross, vice president, chief sustainability, environment and safety officer of Ford. “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.”

The company 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, while 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 team from around the world – including the US, Europe and China developed the company’s carbon-neutral approach after analyzing information on the environment, customers, technology, legislation, energy, competitive approaches, life-cycle assessments and other trends.

Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of the sustainability nonprofit organization Ceres, hailed Ford’s long-term goal and encouraged other companies to follow.

“We congratulate Ford on its commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050,” she said. “Ford recognizes the urgency to address climate change, and we urge every company to take action and commit to science-based targets within their global enterprises,” said Lubber.

Ford is investing more than $11.5 billion in electric vehicles through 2022, introducing zero-emission versions of some of its most popular nameplates are on the way, including the Mustang Mach-E, which starts arriving in dealerships this year, as well as a Transit Commercial EV and fully electric F-150 coming within 24 months.

The company previously announced its plan to use 100% locally sourced renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants globally by 2035. That means energy would come only from sources that naturally replenish – such as hydropower, geothermal, wind or solar.

Electrification plans

Ford significantly accelerated its plan for electric vehicles during 2019. The company unveiled the Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric Mustang SUV that will be available starting later this year with an estimated range of 300 miles.

As part of the Mustang Mach-E reveal, Ford announced North America’s largest public charging network, the FordPass Charging Network, with more than 13,500 charging stations and almost 40,000 individual charge plugs2. These announcements are paving the way for a future all-electric F-150 and all-electric Transit, reinforcing Ford’s commitment to electrifying its most popular nameplates, amplifying the attributes that customers want, such as performance, capability and convenience.

Circular Economy

Ford’s research teams have been redirecting waste streams into biomaterials for vehicle parts for years. Starting in 2007, Ford introduced soy foam as an alternative to petroleum-based seat foam in the Mustang. Since then, the company has expanded application of soy foam to every one of its product lines in North America – more than 25 million vehicles, to date – preventing hundreds of millions of pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

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