Corporate Sustainability Reports: They Did What? | Industry Perspective

[Editor’s Note: This post was written by John Viera, pictured, Director of Sustainable Business Strategies for Ford Motor Company]

At first glance, a company’s sustainability report might look like nothing more than another piece of corporate propaganda. Looks, however, can be deceiving.

What’s inside a corporate sustainability report might surprise you, which is a big reason why companies publish one. In the automotive industry, we understand the general public expects to see manufacturers developing vehicles with improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. These are, after all, the stories you read or hear about most in the media.

But a focus on sustainability doesn’t stop with fuel efficiency. There is other, important work being done that is geared toward making the world we live in a better place. And, since people like yourself want to know more about what goes into making a product or how a company does business, Ford publishes sustainability reports that are an invaluable tool for providing insight into what the company is doing.

On June 15, Ford Motor Company released its 11th annual Sustainability Report. The 2009/2010 report, titled “Blueprint for Sustainability: The Future at Work,” provides updates on the company’s progress in five key areas, including climate change, fuel economy, mobility, vehicle safety and human rights.

Sure, the report talks about the development of fuel-saving technologies and Ford’s broad-based plan to introduce a range of electric vehicles. But you probably didn’t know Ford cut its global water use by more than 16 percent in 2009, and became the first automaker to join a global program to help establish a water disclosure protocol for companies around the world.

Why does an auto company care about water? For the same reason we are working with local governments and universities to make sure we do business in an ethical manner and protect workers’ human rights where we do business – Ford wants to do the right thing.

It’s important we talk about our efforts with you. And, even more importantly, that you share your opinions on how we are doing with us. So, take the time to do some online research and read the different sustainability reports that companies put together. Then, let us all know what you think of our efforts, because sustainability reports shouldn’t be one-way communication.

One of the key understandings we think you will get from reading sustainability reports is the recognition that creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals – they are essential ingredients for long-term success. At least, that’s what we believe at Ford.

If you are interested in Ford’s efforts, I encourage you to read our report.

Important Media

This article first appeared on one of Gas 2's sister sites on the Important Media Network - a network of sites promoting a better, more sustainable future.