WASHINGTON -- December 9 -- The Ford Motor Company markets itself as an environmentally-friendly company, while at the same time advocating automobile standards and loopholes that increase global warming pollution, according to a shareholder resolution announced today by Green Century Capital Management. The resolution calls for full disclosure and accountability regarding Ford's lobbying practices and environmental commitments.
"Companies such as Ford say that they need a clear direction from policymakers in order to make informed decisions, yet Ford's lobbying efforts are muddying the waters and preventing a clear global warming policy from emerging," said Beth Williamson, a representative of Green Century.
Concurrently, U.S. PIRG released a report detailing the contradictory relationship between Ford's lobbying activities and its environmental pledges supporting the resolution, entitled "All Words No Action, Ford's Corporate Citizenship Record on Global Warming and Fuel Economy." The report shows that Ford spent over $45 million over six years lobbying Congress and the Bush and Clinton administrations on numerous environmental and consumer issues, including fuel economy.
"It's textbook hypocrisy for Ford to represent itself as a company deeply committed to the environment as it actively works to prevent positive change in America's fuel economy program," said U.S. PIRG Staff Attorney Gretchen DuBeau.
For example, in 2000, Ford CEO and Chairman Bill Ford, Jr. acknowledged the severe threat of global warming, its direct relationship to the automobile industry, and the need for automobile companies to take action. But the U.S. PIRG report shows that Ford spent more than $45 million between 1998 and 2003 to lobby Congress and the Bush administration in support of laws that suppress corporate fuel economy standards. Ford even supported a Bush administration proposed loophole - "weight-based CAFE standards" - that would create an incentive for automakers to add weight to their SUV and other light trucks in order to qualify for weaker standards.
The shareholder filing follows one day after Ford joined in a Federal lawsuit to overturn California's widely popular new vehicle emissions standards. California's new regulations are the nation's first-ever rules to reduce emissions linked to global warming and the most advanced automotive greenhouse gas reduction targets in the world.
The shareholder resolution asks the Board of Directors of Ford to explain these actions. It requests a report from the company to allow shareholders to determine if Ford's current lobbying efforts are consistent with the company's strategies, as well as whether such strategies are in the shareholders' best interests.
"Global warming poses an unprecedented risk to shareholder value," said Williamson. "Ford's lack of progress on fuel economy, and its efforts to thwart higher federal fuel economy standards, are not in the long-term interests of Ford shareholders."
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average fuel economy of Ford's Model Year 2004 fleet is 18.8 miles per gallon. Ford has the lowest overall fuel economy in the American auto industry, a rank they've held since 1999.
Green Century Capital Management, Inc. administers the Green Century Funds, the first family of no-load, environmentally responsible mutual funds.
U.S. PIRG is the national advocacy office for the state Public Interest Research Groups. State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations.