Ford on Mobility: ‘One Foot in Today and One Foot in Tomorrow’


Last week, Ford published its 2015 sustainability report entitled “Accelerating Today for a Better Tomorrow.” This report is an expansive survey of Ford’s global efforts in sustainability and technology.

It is also a candid and realistic summary of where the automaker is today and its future goals for technology innovations that will advance environmental and human sustainability.

Ford is transparent in recognizing that its efforts still have “one foot in today and one foot in tomorrow.” Executive Chairman William Clay Ford summarizes the challenge as “reinventing this company to make it incredibly relevant for the next 50 years.”

Ford’s focus on electrification, mobility and autonomous driving

Ford’s historical sustainability focus was on reducing tailpipe emissions. And the company succeeded. Today we can buy Ford’s technology advances at dealerships selling Eco-Boost engines and the lighter, more fuel-efficient F-150 pickup.

Ford is expanding its technology focus into vehicle electrification and mobility. Its commitment to these technologies are so strong that it now describes itself as a mobility company. Its pivot toward mobility has three key components:

  1. Vehicle electrification. Ford targets spending $4.5 billion to launch 13 new electric vehicles by 2020. Its 2020 goal is for 40 percent of vehicles to have some electric element.
  2. Autonomous driving technology. Ford plans to triple its test fleet of autonomous cars. To accelerate its autonomous-driving research, the automaker opened a new facility in the heart of Silicon Valley.
  3. Creating customer-facing engagements that sell mobility as a service. In London, Ford is successfully implementing a program that serves customers with on-demand mobility solutions. They are easier to use and lower in cost than renting, leasing or owning a car.

Ford’s focus on human rights and working conditions

Human rights and working conditions are a primary focus in advancing Ford’s goal for an ethical global supply chain.

The automaker is to be commended for developing Policy 24, a detailed commitment to protecting human rights and basic working conditions. Ford will execute this policy statement through the following five-step process:

  1. Analyze risks related to human rights and working conditions
  2. Train suppliers to build capabilities
  3. Perform compliance audits of its largest and most strategic Tier 1 suppliers
  4. Enter into multi-stakeholder collaborations and initiatives to advance industry standards
  5. Proactively seek to expand actions that boost program effectiveness