Making the Connection Between Sustainability and Long-term Profit

The release of Ford’s 14th annual sustainability report demonstrates that another business has made sustainability an integral part of its long term success


‘Going green’ has been one of Ford’s four key business attributes since 2006, but the CFO’s personal contribution to this year’s sustainability report makes the commitment stronger than ever.

CFO Bob Shanks said that sustainability issues are not only the right thing to do but “will have a business case around them over the longer term“.   

Shanks also said that “financial stability should be viewed as a key part of Ford’s sustainability plans”. After all, unless a company is financially strong it is unlikely that it can offer long term contracts to convince its own suppliers to operate more sustainability.

Such statements indicate that the provision of credible environmental as well as financial data is increasingly paramount to business leaders.

And it’s not just Ford which is following this path.

A 2012 Deloitte survey demonstrated that authority over corporate sustainability is increasingly being taken on by CFOs, with over 25% saying they now have responsibility for their company’s sustainability efforts. 

One of Ford’s key strategies is to ensure that it applies the same standards regarding waste treatment, energy efficiency and water management as it expands in the Asia Pacific market.

It is also taking steps to improve its suppliers’ environmental and social performance, for example by working with the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) to implement a Supplier Training Program

Other key environmental results from the report include a 47% decrease in CO2 emissions since 2000 and a global reduction in water use by 62% from 2011 to 2012 (saving $3 million).

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