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Public Citizen Calls on Ford to Adopt Green Steel and Clean Up Supply Chain

Decarbonizing supply chains could drastically cut emissions, remake markets for green steel production

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen today launched a campaign to pressure Ford Motor Company to implement sustainable practices along its supply chain. Among Public Citizen’s demands of the automaker are to publicly declare support for decarbonizing the steel used in its vehicles and to commit to purchasing green steel manufactured in the United States.

“If Ford took action on fossil-free steel, it would not only encourage steelmakers to invest in fossil-free steelmaking technology but also challenge other automakers to follow suit in amplifying the call for more sustainable supply chains across the industry,” said Carly Oboth, senior supply chain campaigner with Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “While Ford has already taken some steps toward decarbonizing its steel supply chain, these actions fall short of what is needed.”

In a letter to Ford CEO Jim Farley, Public Citizen specifically notes the importance of investing in green steel processing. Steel represents one of the most emissions-intensive industries in the world, generating between 7-9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it equivalent to the carbon footprint of the entire country of India.

The campaign calls on Ford to secure a binding procurement agreement for fossil-free steel by the end of 2025. This agreement should commit Ford to procure, specify, or stock a minimum of 30% fossil-free steel and should not factor in carbon offsets or any recycled content. 

Additionally, Ford should make commitments to responsible sourcing practices, aligning with Ford’s stated values of integrity and responsibility. Ford must leverage its market power to raise standards for steel suppliers connected to human rights violations or the exploitation of Indigenous lands and people.

“Ford can solidify its position as a leader in sustainability and set a precedent for the auto industry as a whole,” said Oboth. “Advances in steelmaking technology and the increasing availability of clean, renewable energy mean that steel can now be processed without using climate-polluting fossil fuels. Ford has an opportunity and a responsibility to lead the industry toward making car and truck production cleaner and greener – and to protect the workers and communities impacted by the process.”

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