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PTC Gives Ford Insight into Supply Chain Carbon Footprint

PTC Gives Ford Insight into Supply Chain Carbon Footprint

As part of a broader commitment and blueprint for sustainability, Ford Motor Co. is now surveying 35 of its top global suppliers to gain a better understanding of their greenhouse gas emissions footprint and as part of a larger effort to help reduce carbon emissions within the automotive industry.

The 35 suppliers, which represent close to 30 percent of Ford's $65 billion in annual procurement spending, initially include companies that make commodities such as seats, steering systems, tires and metal components. The data gathered from these suppliers will be evaluated using PTC InSight Environmental Compliance, modeling software that allows companies to track and improve the environmental performance of parts, materials and suppliers. PTC InSight also allows manufacturers to align their product development efforts with regulatory requirements around Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), as well as other directives.

"Suppliers play an important role as we look to reduce our overall carbon footprint and drive more efficiency in an energy-constrained world," said Tony Brown, Ford group vice president, Global Purchasing, in a press release announcing the initiative.

Ford has already done preliminary work with PTC to identify opportunities for both Ford and its suppliers to reduce carbon emissions, officials said. Any reductions accomplished in the supply chain would be in addition to Ford's stated goal of reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 from the company's 2006 model year baseline.

Ford's announcement comes at a point when a number of discrete manufacturers are realizing that the majority of their carbon footprint comes from their supply chain, according to Andrew Wertkin, PTC's vice president of InSight Products and Technology. "Ford can't just look at the electric bills at its plants or only look at its carbon footprint in terms of the final assembly of vehicles," Wertkin said. "What about the mining of materials that go into those parts or the shipping of parts to suppliers? There's a great deal of energy use and carbon and environmental impact in those processes."

InSight will allow Ford and its suppliers to match parts in the bill of materials with models of their individual carbon and energy impacts, allowing them to roll up the carbon and energy impacts at a vehicle level. What this enables them to do, according to Wertkin, is identify the areas that will have the greatest environmental impact for design changes. "The idea here is to bring this process of analyzing carbon and energy at a product level early in the process so companies can make decisions while they are developing," he said. Ford is conducting this process across its vehicle portfolio - not just in a silo approach with a single product. "This isn't about modeling one part, one product or one thing at a time in a silo," Wertkin said. "This allows them to scale and streamline processes so they can look across many products in different categories and make more enterprise decisions."

As part of Ford's efforts to create a carbon management approach for its supply chain, the firm will share feedback from its data collection and analysis process with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), two organizations developing methods for measuring and reporting corporate greenhouse gas emissions. Ford is also participating in the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Program and the Automotive Industry Action Group, to develop guidelines for measuring supplier emissions and establish best practices.

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