Sustainability in the strangest places ...

An interview with John Viera from The Ford Motor Company at Green Festival Chicago 2013.Well, we’ve finally come to the last of our usable interview videos (there were some where the ambient noise won out over soft-spoken interviewees, among other issues) from Green Festival Chicago. I opted to save this one for last, both in that it’s something of a curveball, and it was the longest of the actual interviews (made more so by including some interesting “B reel” stuff of their exhibit). Would you have expected The Ford Motor Company to have been both a major exhibitor at the Green Fest, and be showing off some really interesting things that they’re doing for sustainable development? But there they were.

We’d wanted to get somebody from their exhibit area to talk to us about the fascinating displays of various plants (renewable resources) and how these were working their way into the manufacturing of cars, but, being the Big Company With Many Procedures (and, no doubt, Lawyers), it turned out that there was only one guy there who was “allowed” to speak with the media (oh, that’s us!), and we had to wait for him to finish giving a speech at one of the Festival stages. Eventually John J. Viera, Global Director, Sustainability & Vehicle Environmental Matters, managed to make it through the gauntlet of folks that wanted to buttonhole him after his talk, and was very accommodating with us.

My apologies for the camera work on this – the tripod I had with me has limited height, so if I can’t find a table or chair or something to set it up on (and nothing was handy by the “Bio Door” display), I have to do hand-held … rendering this a bit more “floaty” than the other videos from the show.

Obviously Ford is doing more than just looking for renewable materials for their cars … and they have an annual Sustainability Report from which this is a snippet:

We are working to improve the sustainability of our vehicles by using materials that are more sustainable from a total lifecycle perspective. This includes increasing the use of recycled, renewable, recyclable and lightweight materials. Recycled materials incorporate post-consumer and/or post-industrial waste materials; renewable materials are made from plant-based materials; and lightweight materials use special materials and/or designs that provide the same or better performance as other alternatives with less weight.

In his earlier presentation, Viera covered a number of “green” areas, with rather frank looks at what are impediments to electrical cars, although this does look to be the direction (and/or hydrogen burning engines) that things are headed. He had an interesting slide that showed the various “environmental classes” of cars, from standard on up through hybrid and purely electric. I’d recommend taking a surf through those links above if you want to see what Green looks like in a big corporate setting.

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