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Scope 3 Emissions Assessment and Circular Economy Protocol Development at Ford Motor Company

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
April 17, 2019

Value chain (or Scope 3) emissions, stemming external to an organization’s direct operations, account for over 90% of the greenhouse gas inventory of an automotive manufacturer, and are dominated by Use of Sold Products. Although Ford Motor Company (Ford) had previously reported estimates of select Scope 3 emissions categories to the CDP survey, they sought increased comprehensiveness. Through benchmarking industry leaders, we provided Ford with recommendations to enable a more complete, accurate, and transparent accounting of these emissions. Subsequently, in their 2018 CDP response, Ford estimated an additional 65 million mt CO2e (43%) relative to the previous year’s submission. Scope 3 emissions can be managed through circular economy strategies, which are a means to reduce non-renewable materials and energy, promote renewable feedstocks and energy, and create closed-loop flows across the life cycle of a product. We developed a schematic representing Ford’s circular economy strategies based on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s framework, coupled with closed-loop vehicle life cycle design. While this framework has been applied to other products, we present its first comprehensive application in the mobility sector. This schematic provides a practical format for characterizing and summarizing Ford’s sustainability programs and initiatives and allows them to develop more robust sustainability strategies. Continuing to refine their emissions inventory and promoting circular economy programs are pathways for Ford to advance their position as an industry leader in environmental sustainability.

Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment
Mobility Systems
Publication Type
Master's Thesis
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation

Aguilar Esteva, Laura, Akshat Kasliwal, and Michael Kinzler. (2019) “Scope 3 Emissions Assessment and Circular Economy Protocol Development at Ford Motor Company.” Master’s Project, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor: 1-73.