Creator of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford once said, “there is a most intimate connection between decency and good business,” staying true to his values allowed him to build one of the greatest enterprises of the 20th century.  Ford Motor Company was nominated by Ethisphere Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2010.  When searching for companies to give this title to, they are looking for companies that go beyond making statements about their ethical beliefs but look for companies that take action and really do something about it.  The companies they choose filled out in-depth questionnaires about their policies and were given a score based on their responses and ranked at the top of their industry.  Bill Ford, the Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company is quoted as saying, “I believe the distinction between a good company and a great company is this: a good company delivers excellent product and services; a great one delivers excellent products and services and strives to make the world a better place.”  

Environmental issues

Ford Motor Company puts a lot of effort into ensuring that they are doing everything in their power to preserve the environment strive for sustainability in their products.  Their company website has an entire section devoted towards their environmental efforts.  The company’s Code of Conduct clearly states that potential health and environmental effects will be a crucial part of the company’s decision-making process.  It also recognizes that future successful companies will be those who strive for sustainable use of environmental resources.  Some of the main topics Ford is currently focusing on include fuel economy, reducing vehicle and plant emissions, reducing water consumption, conserving energy, recycling, reusing non-renewable resources, and eliminating the use and creation of toxic materials.  Some of their core requirements include knowing both legal and company initiated requirements, using the company’s environmental specialists to assist with responsibilities, if an employee is contacted by a government agency regarding any environmental issue they are to report it immediately, and always ask the Environmental quality office, or vehicle environmental engineering questions if you are unsure about something.  Even with all of their efforts to harm the environment as little as possible, most all-automobile manufacturers are still criticized for SUVs and other harmful vehicles.  Ford’s response to this is their Hybrid vehicles as well as the Ford Focus, which they are trying to get to 70 mpg fuel efficiency.  Other efforts Ford has made over the past few years include a reduction of waste in plants, landfill gases supply energy to their plants, and paint and solvent waste have been converted to other uses.  Ford has also created a “Product Sustainability Index” for their automobiles.  Their website allows you to choose an environmental issue you are concerned about and view how their different car models relate to that issue and have they have improved over time.   

Conflict of Interest

It is important to Ford Motor Company that all employees understand the concept of Conflict of Interest. Ford Motor Company’s Code of Ethics properly defines conflict of interest as when a director’s personal interest is adverse to – or may appear to be adverse to – the interests of the Company as a whole.  Conflict of interest can also arise, according to Ford, when a director, or a member of his or her immediate family, receives improper personal benefits as a result of his or her position as a director of the Company. There are also a few examples of conflict of interest stated within the Code of Ethics. Among these are relationships of company with third parties which does not let directors engage in any activities that are not in the best interest of the company or that impairs the Company’s relationship with a future client. Compensation from non-Company sources doesn’t allow directors to accept compensation for services performed for the Company from any source other than the Company. Another example is gifts. Directors and members of their families are not allowed to accept gifts from persons or entities who deal with the Company in the case that the gift has more than a nominal value or where acceptance of the gift would create the appearance of conflict of interest. Ford Motor Company has a low tolerance for conflict of interest, wanting to look their best for their stakeholders and clients.

 

Anti-Harassment

Ford Motor Company has long maintained an anti-harassment policy as part of their commitment to having a respectful work environment. Ford defines harassment as “language or conduct that may be derogatory, intimidating, or offensive to others.” People are encouraged to report any harassment they see or take part in, and the code requires managers to promptly address the issues being brought up to them. Also stated, it is unacceptable to retaliate against some one who reported harassment, which again gives reassurance to the employees that bad will happen to them if they do report.

 Health & Safety

Ford Motor Company is committed to protecting health and safety. The Company’s Health and Safety Commitment states, “Our most valuable asset is our people. Nothing is more important than their safety and well being. Our coworkers and families rely on this commitment. There can be no compromise.” Ford Motor Company complies with the legal health and safety requirements at a minimum. They also comply with their own standards, which goes beyond legal requirements. When dealing with considerations of alternatives, Ford Motor Company does not let cost be an issue.

 Ford Motor Company has three core requirements dealing with health and safety. The first discusses how one should take personal responsibility for the protection of health and safety while at work. The code of conduct states, “We will only achieve our goal of zero injuries with the commitment of all personnel to achieve this goal.” The second requirement addresses the members of management. They encourage them to consult with employees and/or their representatives and involve them in matters affecting their health and safety. The code of conduct states, “Management of each activity is expected to accept this responsibility as an important priority, and to commit the necessary resources to health and safety.” The third and final requirement states the compliance with the Company’s health and safety requirements, with the failure to do so may result in discipline, up to and including termination or release.

 

Product quality & Safety

“At Ford Motor Company, quality is job 1.” The company views quality as being their priority. The customers are the reason for their existence and their satisfaction is essential to their success. Quality goes hand-in-hand with safety and to be the best-in-class customer satisfaction, it is critical that the company builds safe products. Both Ford Motor Company and their customers expect the vehicles to contain superior safety features. Policy Letter No. 7 requires that the company be active and responsible in all areas of automotive safety, which is a broad requirement that covers vehicle design and manufacture, driver behavior, and the highway environment. The code of conduct states, “Our products should be designed not only to meet or exceed applicable laws and regulations, but also to advance the state-of-the-art in safety whenever practicable.”

 Ford Motor Company has many core requirements pertaining to Product Quality and Safety. These requirements include:

  • Utilize the Company’s Quality Operating System and its key processes to achieve measureable results, eliminate waste, and deliver value.
  • Be actively involved in Quality Leadership and follow the nine Quality Leadership principles in the Global Quality Manual
  • Utilize Six-Sigma and its data-driven decision making
  • When selecting a supplier, include the supplier’s demonstrated ability to achieve continuous quality improvement in the selection criteria
  • Do not rule out, based on the issue of cost, the consideration of possible state-of-the-art alternatives. Priorities should be based on achieving the greatest anticipated safety benefit that is practical
  • Remember that a major objective of the company’s research and development efforts is the implementation of product, process, and manufacturing innovations that provide customer benefit and value, and that help protect the environment and enhance safety.
  • Consider the performance throughout the life of the vehicle when working to meet the safety needs and expectations of the Company’s customers
  • Address in-service safety concerns in a timely, customer-driven manner

These core requirements pertaining to Product Quality and Safety show that Ford Motor Company has product quality and safety as their number one priority, and is doing their best to ensure this quality and safety for their customers. 

Encouraging ethical decisions & reporting

Also worth mentioning, in the Ford Motor Company’s Code of Ethics they encourage the reporting of any illegal or unethical behavior. The Code of Ethics states directors should promote ethical behavior by encouraging employees to talk to their supervisors or managers, report violations of laws or rules, and informs the employees that the Company will not allow any retaliation for the reports. This is reassuring to the employees, so they know nothing bad will happen if they see unethical or illegal behavior.

  Final Thoughts

Allen Mulally, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company is quoted as saying the following about their Code of Conduct Handbook, “By reading this Handbook and following its guidelines you will help us enhance our reputation as an outstanding corporate citizen. This is not only the right thing to do – it is the best thing to do to secure the future success of our Company.”  It is clear that Ford Motor Company has realized the clear connection between high ethical standards and success.  Their Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct both have detailed descriptions of what the company defines and acceptable and unacceptable.  Encouraging and enforcing these values as well as taking action in areas that are of great importance to them is what makes this company deserving of recognition for the Best Business Ethics Management System. 

Works Cited

 2010 World’s Most Ethical Companies. Ethisphere Institute, 2010. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. http://ethisphere.com/wme2010/

Cavanagh, Gerald & Mary Ann Hazen. Ford Motor Company, Human Rights, and Environmental Integrity. University of Detroit Mercy. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. http://www.nd.edu/~ethics/ethicsConference/Conference%20Presentations/Ford%20Motor%20Company,%20Human%20Rights,%20and.ppt.

Code of Conduct and Ethics for Member of the Board of Directors. Ford Motor Company, Mar. 2004. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. <http://www.ford.com/doc/directors_code_of_ethics.pdf&gt;.

 Code of Conduct Handbook – Corporate Policies and Directives. Ford Motor Company, Nov. 2007. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. <http://www.ford.com/doc/corporate_conduct_standards.pdf&gt;.

 Product Sustainability Index. Ford Motor Company, 2009. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. <http://www.ford.com/microsites/sustainability-report-2008-09/environment-lifecycle-index&gt;.

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