Saturday, July 13, 2013

Go Further with Ford 2013 Trend Conference #FordTrends #FordGreen

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of heading out to Dearborn, Michigan for the Go Further with Ford 2013 Trend Conference. This was my second year in a row attending and I was so excited to be invited back because I love learning about what car companies are working on on the green front. Obviously making more eco-friendly cars is a trend we are all very much aware of. We were all able to attend several of the trend sessions at the conference and I want to briefly touch on some of what was discussed at the Greentopia panel, which was of course the most important one for  me.

Greentopia - "Global sustainability. It's not just a concept; it's a reality, in which like-minded companies combine resources to be agents of change fore creating a sustainable world."

Andy Hoffman, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan
Erin Simon, Manager for packagin & material science at World Wildlife Fund
Scott Vitter, Manager of the PlantBottle program at The Coca-Cola Company
John Viera, Global Director of Sustainability at Ford Motor Company

You may be surprised to know that we did not discuss alternative fuel engines during this session. Instead we focused on materials used in manufacturing vehicles and how they can be more sustainable. Ford uses 41 Fabrics with recycled content across 15 of its vehicle programs. For example, in the Ford Fusion, the seat fabric contains up to 40 recycled PET plastic bottles. Currently, Ford is looking at the potential for using retired and shredded U.S. paper currency in some of its components.

Going forward, Ford points out that collaboration with other automotive manufacturers as well as companies from other industries is how they can continue to grow sustainability. With others car companies, they discuss issues such as recycling lithium batteries. And outside of their industry, they currently have partnered with companies like Coco-Cola and Nike with regards to using Plant PET (plastic) technology.

They key to all of this will be developing profitable sustainability, because obviously a company can't go with something that will end up hurting their bottom line. It will be interesting to see how this progresses and how sustainable they can make each part of their vehicles.

On a side note, I have to praise John Viera, Ford's Global Director of Sustainability. This is the third time I have been able to listen to him talk and I just love how animated and passionate he is about this topic. It gives me hope that he can help Ford go a lot further with sustainability.

Ford brought me out for the Go Further with Ford 2013 Trend Session. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


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