Ford Motor Co. Releases Climate Risk Report to Shareholders
The Ford Motor Co. today released a first-of-its-kind report in the auto industry analyzing the business implications of climate change on the company's strategic planning and overall competitiveness.
The report highlighted the severity of the global warming challenge, the need for stabilizing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and steps the company is taking to capture new market opportunities as consumer demand grows for climate-friendly, fuel-efficient vehicles.
The world's third largest automaker also pledged to take a leadership role in breaking the climate policy gridlock in Washington so that the U.S. can begin moving down a path of reducing and stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions.
"It is in the interest of society and business to reduce the uncertainty and increase the predictability of policy frameworks and market conditions around the issue of climate change," said the company in the 21-page report, posted on its web site.
In November 2004, investors, led by the Connecticut State Treasurer's Office and the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, N.J. for members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), filed a shareholder resolution asking Ford to assess and report to investors on their business exposure from climate change. The resolution was withdrawn this past March after the company agreed to prepare the report.
An identical shareholder resolution was filed with General Motors (GM), which has not agreed to produce such a report. Investors will again file a shareholder resolution with GM today urging the company to prepare a report similar to the one Ford released today.
Ford received input on the report from several investor groups, including ICCR and Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups that directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, an alliance of investors with nearly $3 trillion in assets.
Although disappointed at the report's lack of details about future greenhouse gas emissions from its products, investors and environmental leaders found much to like in the report - in particular, the acknowledgment that climate change is a serious business issue and that national policy action is needed to end the regulatory uncertainty.
"Ford has provided an important service for investors, the auto industry and U.S. citizens by tackling the complexities and challenges of global warming head-on," said Caldwell Dominican Sister Patricia Daly, OP Executive Director of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment and lead filer of the shareholder resolution for ICCR members. "The company's commitment to engage in policy solutions is especially welcome. ICCR and other investors will be pressing General Motors in the coming months to take similar steps on this important business issue, beginning with a resolution being filed today."
"Bill Ford clearly understand global warming is a serious environmental and financial issue, and that climate-friendly vehicles must be part of the solution," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres and director of INCR. "Investors see Ford's actions to analyze the business and competitive implications of climate change as an important step. This, coupled with strong leadership from the company to develop meaningful climate policy solutions in Washington, would be a winning recipe that would allow all U.S. companies to move full-throttle into the clean energy economy."
"Ford has unmistakably and significantly recognized that climate change is about much more than the environment," said Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier. "While there's no question that Ford has numerous obstacles ahead, understanding that the imperative to address this issue is essential to long term shareholder value is an encouraging sign on the road to resurgence. To do anything less could diminish competitiveness over the long-term, potentially jeopardizing the employment of tens of thousands of Americans in this industry and the retirement portfolios of hundreds of thousands more."
Related Ceres company: Ford Motor Company