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Building with purpose: Ford Louisville Assembly Plant earns EPA pollution prevention award for water recycling initiative

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presents Ford Motor Company’s Louisville Assembly Plant with 2021 Pollution Protection Award

In a signal of Ford Motor Company’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant has been presented with a 2021 Pollution Prevention Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4. The award recognizes the Louisville Assembly Plant for its leadership and commitment to practices that reduce, eliminate or prevent pollution at its source, specifically for a new water recycling initiative developed by plant employees.

In 2020, the Louisville Assembly Plant began implementing a pollution prevention project to reuse treated wastewater in the paint pre-treatment process to reduce the volume of waste water sent from the plant to the Publicly Owned Treatment Works wastewater treatment facility.

During the first year of implementation, the Louisville Assembly Plant reduced more than 5 million gallons of city water use, which equates to over 22 gallons per vehicle and a cost savings of approximately $50,000. Reusing wastewater also helps bring Ford closer to the company’s aspiration to only use freshwater for human consumption, and builds on the more than 12.5 billion gallons of water saved to date through water conservation and recycling programs since 2000.

“Ford is proud to match our sustainability ambition with bold, transformative action that aims to help protect our communities as well as our planet,” said Bob Holycross, vice president, sustainability, environment and safety engineering. “Our environmental stewardship begins long before our vehicles leave the assembly line, and the innovative work being done at Louisville Assembly Plant is a perfect example of how our employees are helping make our sustainability aspirations a reality.”

The EPA award builds on recent recognitions that Ford has earned for its climate and sustainability leadership, including a place on the CDP A-List for water security for the seventh straight year in a row. Ford was also recognized on CDP’s A-List for climate change for the third year in a row, for the company’s actions to cut emissions, mitigate climate risks and contribute to development of the low-carbon economy.

Building for the Future

Ford is continually looking for opportunities to reduce the effects of our operations and global supply chains, including committing to reach carbon neutrality no later than 2050 across our vehicles, facilities and supply chain.

“This award represents Ford’s commitment to make a positive contribution to the environment wherever possible. It isn’t just a win for the Louisville Assembly Plant, but also for our employees, UAW partners and the entire Louisville community,” said Lisa Drake, chief operating officer, Ford North America. “Sustainable manufacturing is core to our current and future business strategy, allowing us to continue to create good jobs while minimizing impact to our planet.”

Ford became the first automaker to sign the Department of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our U.S. manufacturing facilities by 25%- 50% over 10 years, in line with its commitment to improve energy efficiency and power its facilities with 100 percent local, renewable energy by 2035. Additionally, by using renewable and recycled materials in vehicles, the company is reducing waste and using fewer natural resources. Sustainable manufacturing is a core part of the company’s electrification plans, which include investing more than $30 billion in electric vehicles and batteries through 2025.

Sustainable Supply Chain

In addition to Ford’s manufacturing facilities, the company’s supply chain sustainability program, Partnership for A Cleaner Environment (PACE), is designed to reduce the overall environmental impact of Ford’s key global supply chain partners. PACE programs enable Ford to share sustainability best practices with more than 50 strategic suppliers so that their benefits can be replicated around the world. In terms of water stewardship, PACE participants expect to save an estimated 182 million gallons of water in their global operations from 2020 to 2030.

In addition to the full PACE program, Ford launched a new streamlined version in 2019, FastPACE, to help reduce the overall environmental impact of the company’s supply chain partners. With FastPACE, suppliers in China, India, Thailand and now South Africa are using a toolkit that includes hundreds of leading practices and actions on how to address air emissions, energy and water use. Suppliers used the program’s reporting tool to enter baseline environmental data, implement savings projects and report estimated reductions. Global FastPACE suppliers are on track to save an estimated 4,909 metric tons of CO2 and 24 million gallons of water over the next three years.


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