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In a first for the automotive industry, Ford of Europe on August 23 published its ground-breaking Product Sustainability Index (PSI) report.
Ford's PSI is the most comprehensive approach yet in assessing how the environmental, social and economic impact of vehicles can be addressed from the earliest stages of their development.
The 38-page report gives an insight into the detailed rationale, criteria and approach used in the PSI. It also shows that all three models designed to date with PSI in mind - the all-new Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy - deliver improved sustainability performance in all three key areas: environmental, social and economic performance, when compared to the previous models.
"Ford is committed to continue making mobility more sustainable. The scale of the challenge means that it’s not enough to introduce two or three new environmental products and leave it at that," said John Fleming, president and CEO, Ford of Europe. "Ford of Europe's PSI demonstrates how sustainability can be integrated into mainstream product development to the benefit of our customers and the environment. And, it demonstrates how committed and serious we are in taking a leading role in the automotive industry in addressing these issues. It's the innovative combination of a comprehensive range of sustainability criteria and their integration into our product development process which makes Ford's PSI exceptional."
Key Sustainability Elements
Ford's PSI tracks eight product attributes identified as key sustainability elements of a vehicle. These are: life-cycle global warming potential (mainly carbon dioxide emissions), life-cycle air quality potential (other air emissions), the use of sustainable materials (recycled and renewable materials), substance management (including TÜV allergy-tested interior certification), exterior noise impact (drive-by noise), safety (for occupants and pedestrians), mobility capability (seat and luggage capacity relative to vehicle size) and life-cycle ownership costs (full costs for the customer over the first three years).
These metrics echo the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability and Ford's holistic approach.
An independent review of the Ford PSI, conducted by experts in the area of life cycle science and sustainability, Professor Dr. David Hunkeler (formerly of the universities of Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn., and Lausanne, Switzerland) and Professor Dr. Walter Kloepffer (University of Mainz, Germany), concluded it was an initiative which aims to provide a full sustainability assessment and it was also compliant with ISO 14040, the international Life Cycle Assessment standard.
The PSI provides a basis for permanent evaluation and improved sustainability performance for new generations of vehicles. Consequently, the all-new Ford Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy show improved PSI performance versus their predecessors.
For instance, more recycled and renewable materials have been used in these three models. At the same time, as safety performance has been improved, these vehicles' life-cycle air emissions and life-cycle cost of ownership have been reduced.
All three models have also been awarded the TÜV Rhineland Group's "Allergy-Tested Interior" seal of approval, following in the footsteps of the Ford Ka, Ford Focus and Ford C-MAX.
For a company to receive the award, TÜV experts must certify that the car's interior materials were selected in order to reduce the risk of allergic reaction to the lowest possible level. Ford is the first manufacturer to offer vehicles that have received this TÜV certification and plans to get as many existing and future models as possible similarly certified.
The PSI reflects work dating back to the early 1990s. Ford became the first automotive company to issue global Design-for-Recycling Guidelines in 1993 for its engineers and suppliers. Over time, the Design-for-Recycling guidelines evolved to a broader concept of Design-for-Environment, but even that was only an intermediate step as the societal concept of sustainability has grown beyond pure environmental issues. A Design-for-Sustainability management tool was needed, resulting in the PSI as the latest – and most comprehensive - step in that evolution of Ford's vehicle design tools.
"All future Ford vehicles will also be developed with PSI in mind. It shows that Ford is committed to continue to share in its contribution to make mobility more sustainable, " Fleming said. “However, it is also clear that to address the enormous challenge that sustainable mobility implies, society will increasingly need integrated approaches with all stakeholders in the transport sector contributing. We are all part of the problem, and we are all part of the solution."