Ford Motor Company’s 2020 Sustainability report outlines the legacy automaker’s plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. In an attempt to solidify itself as an environmentally-friendly car maker with a goal that would decrease its contribution to global climate issues, Ford chose a conservative route instead of a challenging one that would assist the transportation sector’s strong push toward sustainability.
Tesla’s road to environmentally-friendly transportation started well before Elon Musk’s 2006 draft that is known as the “Master Plan.” Musk knew that CO2 emissions were threatening lift on Earth and that a change needed to be made. Fourteen years later, Tesla sets on top of the automotive world as the leader in electromobility, and arguably could be recognized as the company that made legacy automakers rethink a business model centered around gas-powered machines that are harming the Earth and its atmosphere.
A company with a short, but rich history like Tesla realized the issue was here before the first Roadster even rolled off of the production lines. However, Ford, a company that recently celebrated its 117th birthday, does not seem to recognize the issues at hand, pushing a date for its sustainability goals that sits 30 years down the road.
Addressing climate change impact is a salient human rights issue and a strategic priority for Ford. That's why we're working to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with interim targets to keep us on track. Find out what else drives us in our annual #sustainability report.
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) June 24, 2020
In 2018, Ford sold the most vehicles on Earth with 2.38 million units, according to EVadoption.com. However, the company can only attribute .39% of its total sales to its electric cars, which at the time only accounted for the Ford Focus EV. Although the company is planning to introduce its Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric version of the F-150 pickup, and three other models within the next few years, it seems to be too little, but it’s not too late.
Ford’s first step in moving toward sustainability is to introduce a fully-electric fleet well before 2050. Thirty years is far too long as other automakers, like Volkswagen, are pumping in billions of dollars into plans that involve making a lineup of vehicles battery-powered and not combustion-driven. Ultimately, the effort relies on recognizing the problem that gas-powered transportation gives to the environment, and Ford has to realize that its goal is far too distant. Change is needed now.
It is not all bad, though. Ford does plan to use locally-sourced renewable energy for all manufacturing plants globally by 2035. This effort bodes well for the company’s mission, and will undoubtedly help Ford move toward carbon neutrality.
The question is: Where is the urgency? Several countries around the world have already announced their intentions to phase-out fossil fuels. Of the fourteen that have announced bans of gas-powered vehicles, only one has a goal of 2050: Costa Rica.
Many of the locations are considering 2025, 2030, or 2040 as the year when gasoline and diesel-powered machines will no longer be permitted. If Ford doesn’t adopt a quicker timeframe, it could spell trouble for the automaker in these locations, which include large, dense car markets like China, Germany, India, and Spain.
Electric vehicles are becoming more popular, and Tesla is leading the charge. The company has inspired many automakers to adopt its style with minimalism, and its goal with sustainability. Many companies have gotten on-board with the idea, setting lofty goals that will accelerate the shift from gas to batteries. However, Ford is treating its sustainability plan as a way to gain support from a growing community, and not as a way to decrease its carbon footprint promptly.
It’s an emergency, Ford, and it is time to start acting like it.