Ford’s John Viera: Finding ‘economic goodness’ in sustainability

John Viera, the global director of sustainability at Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F), has helped to bring a whole new view of sustainability to his company in the past five years. Before he was promoted to sustainability director from his job as a product development engineer, Viera says many people at Ford saw sustainability as more of a philanthropic venture than a business factor  and the sustainability director position was viewed mainly as a public relations role.

Under his tenure, Ford has created a long-term product strategy based on stabilizing its carbon dioxide emissions, has increased its use of recycled materials in its vehicles and has created the first human rights code in the auto industry, which specifies working conditions  such as temperatures and fair wages  for its employees.

One of his secrets to success, he says, has been finding ways to make the business case for sustainability for every element of the company  including product development, manufacturing, purchasing, human resources and more  in order to build support throughout the ranks.

What’s next for sustainability at Ford? More renewable energy, Viera says, and more action to prevent human trafficking and child labor.

To hear more tricks of the trade from Viera, listen to this podcast.

To find out more about Ford’s vision for intelligent vehicles, check out our earlier Q&A with John Viera, who is also a frequent GreenBiz contributor.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Co.