FORD

FORD

22 December, 2014
Top Global Green Brand
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Ford Motor Company has long been actively engaged in the sustainability industry ever since it was founded in 1903. Its commitment to the conservation of the environment was recently celebrated as they were ranked No. 1 on Interbrand’s 2014 list of the 50 Best Global Green Brands.
 
We have the honor of sitting down with Mr. David M. Westerman, Managing Director, Malaysia & Asia Pacific Emerging Markets, as he tells us more about Ford’s comprehensive approach to sustainability and why the company will always be in the lead in sustainable business practises all over the world.
 
Is there anything that Ford has done differently that has contributed to the company’s rise to the top?
 
Sustainability is deep in our culture. I think it’s what Ford has always done. The environment is in the DNA of Ford from our Founder Henry Ford until today. It embodies everything that we do and we stay true to that, and I think it’s great to see that recognition. It’s great to see our efforts in conservation management. It’s nothing new, just the continuation of everything Ford has stood for ever since.
 
What challenges has Ford encountered in the path of sustainability?
 
I think it is that the two things we stand for sometimes run in conflict. Automobiles and the environment. Striking that balance is really a challenge. I think our eco-boost engines are perfect—they’re low displacement but high performance, and their 20% less fuel and 20% less carbon emitting. They give the consumer the choice, but they also give the power.
 
So why is it important for a luxury vehicle manufacturer like Ford to implement sustainability measures into its products and its business plan?
 
It’s always been in the business plan from 1903. It’s our responsibility—we only have one world and one environment and it’s our duty to take care of it. We have to be responsible for our environment. I’ve been with the company 25 years and from the moment we’ve started, this has always been in our core. It doesn’t get easier, it’s a big responsibility.
 
Let’s talk about cars. Can you tell us about Ford’s EV electric cars, Ford Fusion energy, and plans for these vehicles?
 
Ford is the power of choice, so we have a lot of hybrid and electric cars. We sell several around the world, we’re getting ready to bring them into Europe. We do have a full range of vehicles, electric is a big part of it, but Hong Kong unfortunately is not part of that—we are still waiting for change in infrastructure. It’s matching up the technology and the market—balance is important.
 
What are some of the infrastructural features you’re looking for?
 
It’s the charging stations, you have to make it convenient to the consumers—your products have to meet their demands. A lot of people are really passionate about electric vehicles but sometimes the infrastructure is not there yet, but it’s definitely moving in that direction so I’m confident that in time the things that would need to happen will happen for us to be able to bring the vehicles in.
 
Where do you see Ford in 10 years?
 
I don’t know how bright my crystal ball is but I will tell you one thing: I can guarantee you that in 10 years we will still be a leader and a champion in environmental technology. It’s deep in our culture. We invest in the grassroots. In Hong Kong we’ve made a huge investment in the students, in education, because they are the future of technology—giving scholarships to them to research their passion. And it doesn’t have to be automotive, you know, this year we’ve put out a grant for students to have the opportunity to learn and to discover and to help us live in a better world.
 
Which leads me to my next question: How important is education in terms of sustainability and technological advancement?
 
It’s critical. That’s why I’m really excited about our partnership with HKUST. Our investment in the students is to really help promote and educate them and to help them educate us on the importance of conservation, the environment, and sustainability. We have to teach this to our next generation of leaders, you know.
 

By: Kristine Basilio & Karry Lai
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