The Education of Henry Ford

While we are on the subject of greenwashing, let’s have a conversation about the Big Three automakers in Detroit that are comprised of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. Recently they have made the news with the continued failure of their companies to make a profit, especially in this current economic recession. Now that banks have been bailed out by the Treasury Department, these automakers are hopping on the bandwagon and asking for financial help from Congress.

Well, not quite hopping on the bandwagon…more like flying in on their private jets. Once news of this fantastic faux pas hit the airwaves, the back peddling began and the CEOs made their next trip to DC in their companies new “green” cars. All of this hubbub aside, the “green” record of these Big Three leaves much to be desired.

Ford has designed a specific website to demonstrate it’s record of sustainability and willingness to develop more fuel efficient cars. At one point in the site, an article states that they have designed the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030. However, this wonderful claim is undermined by the fact that this is a legislative mandate that the company is being forced to meet. Yet, Ford manages to spin this situation into a marketing gimmick designed to convince the consumer that Ford is deeply committed to “climate stabilization”.

All of the focus in this Sustainability Report is around light-duty vehicles, instead of the development of better technology for the true polluters, the heavy-duty industrial vehicles. Think semi-trucks, people. By Ford’s own admission, light-duty cars and trucks account for only 11% of all CO2 emissions. While we all want better fuel-efficient cars for the consumers, very little is being done about the really big problem posed by massive scale freight transportation. You think Ford doesn’t produce big rigs? Think again. Check out the Ford F-650 or perhaps you like bigger, say F-800 series. These are the commercial vehicles that Ford has produced for the transportation industry and they manage to get a whopping 15 miles per gallon in the best-case scenario.

Don’t let the Big Three pull you in with their claims on environmental concern. If they really meant what they said, we would have had 40-50 mile per gallon cars ten years ago. This is just another case of greenwashed marketing.

- Gina Mason


Ford Sustainability Report 2007/8

Ford - SourceWatch

Commercial Trucks - Ford

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