Ford Touts Corporate Responsibility While Attacking U.S. Fuel Economy Standard
Ford Motor Company is touting its own fuel efficiency while working to undermine the federal clean car standards that prompted automakers to take action, the U.S. Sierra Club charges in a new video that accuses the company of greenwashing.
In a video Ford released last August to supplement its 2016-2017 Sustainability Report, Executive Chair Bill Ford stressed his personal commitment to wild places, and to dealing with climate change. “If we continue to be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, what kind of example are we setting for our children, our grandchildren?” he asked.
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The opening moments of the video quoted Ford saying the purpose of any company “should be to make people’s lives better. Otherwise, they shouldn’t exist.”
Sierra Club is responding with a 53-second video that “features a man getting into a car, paired with a caption reading, ‘By 2025, fuel efficiency of U.S. cars will nearly double thanks to current clean car standards,’” Mother Jones notes. “Once inside the car, the man notices all of the car’s gears shift to reverse. Without another choice, he puts the car in reverse and blasts back in time, as the car transforms into a Model T. A caption then reads, ‘But Ford is trying to roll back these standards so they can make cars with worse gas mileage than the Model T.’”
Mother Jones notes that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing companies including Ford, General Motors, and Toyota, wrote to Donald Trump in November 2016, “asking him to ‘harmonize and adjust’ the Obama-era emission goals and regulations.” Sierra Deputy Legislative Director Andrew Lindhardt said Ford has since been hard at work lobbying Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to soften key fuel efficiency regulations.
“Ford may be trying to put on a good show, but behind closed doors, it has been working with Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt to roll back our single biggest defence against dangerous climate pollution,” Lindhardt told The Hill from last month’s Detroit International Auto Show. “Ford’s claims of sustainability in its advertising and here at the auto show are nothing more than greenwashing.”
In her response to the ad, Ford spokesperson Christin Baker had nothing to say about fuel economy standards, but noted that “we are driving carbon reductions with more hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles. Last week, we announced we are investing $11 billion to put these new electric vehicles on the road. Specifically, by 2022, we will have 16 battery electric vehicles and 24 plug-in hybrids and regular hybrids, for a total of 40 electrified vehicles.”