Ford Blames Itself Again

by William Yeatman on May 1, 2001

Ford Blames Itself Again

Ford Motor is announcing once again that its products are contributing to global warming and that it intends to do something to lessen the environmental damage that its vehicles are causing. The mea culpa will be in the companys forthcoming second annual Corporate Citizenship Report, according to a Wall Street Journal story (May 2, 2001).

According to the Journal, this years report is based on a series of talks Ford executives had last summer with radical environmental and progressive social groups. Those meetings identified global warming as one of three big issues the company should focus on. The others are improving human rights in developing countries where Ford has plants and persuading financial markets to reward Ford for focusing on environmental issues.

This last issue clearly limits Fords ability to respond to the threat of global warming. For example, a decision by Ford to get out of automobile and into bicycle production would probably not be rewarded by financial markets. The problem that Chairman William Clay Ford, Jr. confronts as a committed environmentalist is that Ford makes nearly all of its profits from selling its larger vehicles, such as SUVs.

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