Ford’s latest sustainability report reveals a number of achievements in the reduction of carbon output from its logistics practices, including a reduction in road-based transport, increased use of alternative fuels and more reusable packaging.
Called “2009/10 Blueprint for Sustainability: The Future at Work”, the report states that the company reduced its operational CO2 emissions across the globe by 9% in 2009 compared to the previous year. It has also earned a fifth consecutive Energy Star Award for Sustained Excellence from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The company has reduced road-based movement of parts and finished vehicles by increasing the use of rail and sea transport. Citing its activity in Spain as an example the company said it has reduced inland road-based transport there by 29% by expanding from three sea ports of entry to six.
The company maintains that the move from road to rail can save 40% of CO2 emissions.
Ford has also introduced a barge route between Romania and Bavaria and begun using the Black Sea for imports to Russia.
“Although logistics account for a relatively small percentage of total vehicle lifecycle emissions, we are working hard to maximize the efficiency of these operations to reduce both costs and environmental impacts,” the report states.
This drive to efficiency is managed by Ford's Material Planning and Logistics (MP&L) department, which is responsible for the design and operation of the company’s global transportation networks and for engineering high-quality and efficient packaging to protect parts in transit.
In 2008, MP&L established a global team specifically to address the climate change impacts of transportation logistics and in particular to generate metrics for CO2 emissions.
Ford has increased the use of reusable packing containers to 90% across its European operations. It has also implemented new packaging guidelines for its suppliers requiring them to support corporate sustainability through the use of 100% recycled, renewable or recyclable materials.
In North America, at the beginning of 2010, the company states its rail and intermodal rail shipments represented almost 40% of the network distance travelled, while accounting for less than 15% of the network carbon footprint. It achieved an average of 8% fewer miles travelled there by delivery trucks than at the end of 2009, and the network uses 70% rail miles and 30% road miles.
The report also highlights Ford’s increase in the use of alternative fuels and fuel-efficient driving practices on delivery vehicles.