The Blog

Why Should You Read a Company's Sustainability Report?

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Today, it's not uncommon for companies to publish sustainability reports highlighting a range of efforts being made to act in a socially responsible manner. And that's a good thing.

Sustainability reports serve as a scorecard for us - to report on the progress we are making with our corporate sustainability strategy and the environmental and social initiatives we are engaged in around the world. Equally important, the reports serve as a source of information for people, like yourself, wanting to know more about how a product is made or a how a company you might invest in does business. It is proof your opinions and interests matter. Yet, despite all of this information being readily available, few people take the time to read a sustainability report and learn more about the efforts companies are making to do the right thing. Let's try to change this.

On June 15, Ford Motor Company released its 11th annual Sustainability Report. The 2009/2010 report, titled "Blueprint for Sustainability: The Future at Work," provides updates on my company's progress in five key areas, including climate change, fuel economy, mobility, vehicle safety and human rights. You might be surprised by what you read.

For example, many people would expect to see Ford is working hard to develop fuel saving technologies including a broad-based plan to introduce a range of electric vehicles. But, something you may not know is Ford cut its global water use by more than 16 percent in 2009 and became the first automaker to join a global program to help establish a water disclosure protocol for companies around the world. Or, you might find it interesting Ford works with local governments and universities to make sure it does business in an ethical manner and protects workers' human rights where we do business.

We recognize the importance of measuring the impact of what we do whether it is CO2 emissions, fuel economy, energy and water use. We think it's important to talk about new safety technologies and human rights and working conditions. One of the key understandings we think you will get from reading sustainability reports is the recognition that creating a strong business and building a better world are not conflicting goals - they are essential ingredients for long-term success.

Your efforts to become more knowledgeable about how companies conduct business and what they are doing to create a better world can make a difference. So, take the time to do some online research and read the different sustainability reports companies put together, including ours. Then, let us and other companies know what you think of our efforts, because sustainability reports shouldn't really be static, one- way communication. We believe these reports should serve as a tool to share information and spark more dialogue about the critical issues facing not just our companies, but society.

If you are interested in Ford's efforts, I encourage you to read our report, available online at

Before You Go

Popular in the Community