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Ford Motor Company Becomes First Automaker to Report on Effects of HIV/AIDS

Submitted by: Ford Motor Company

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1

Posted: Dec 06, 2004 – 11:00 PM EST

 

-Ford Motor Company today released its first detailed report on the effects of HIV/AIDS under terms of the Global Reporting Initiative.

-Ford is engaged with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to raise corporate awareness of the HIV/AIDS issue and monitor and further develop its own response to all environmental, social and humanitarian issues.

-Modeled on its successful program in South Africa, Ford is expanding its HIV/AIDS program to high-risk countries including China, India, Thailand and Russia.

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 6, 2004 - Ford Motor Company today became the first automaker in the world to release details of how the HIV/AIDS epidemic is affecting the corporation under terms of the Global Reporting Initiative. (To view a PDF of the report, please click here.)

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a multistakeholder process and independent institution whose mission is to develop and disseminate globally applicable Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

"To date, HIV/AIDS has not had a detectable economic impact on the company overall. We believe taking a proactive approach to the pandemic been contributed to this," said Dr. Greg Stone, Ford Motor Company director of Occupational Health and Safety. "As history has shown, Ford Motor Company has for decades taken a leadership role in pioneering health and safety initiatives for its workforce and for the communities in which we operate."

Mary Ann Gaido, vice president of St. Joseph Health System and a Board Member at the ICCR, applauded Ford's report. Members of ICCR worked with Ford to encourage the expanded effort.

"The collaboration between ICCR investors and Ford has borne fruit. Ford is fulfilling its obligation to treat people living with HIV and AIDS, and to protect people who are not infected," Gaido said. "This is not check-book corporate responsibility. This is a comprehensive response to HIV integrated into the core business functions of the company.

"Ford is doing the right thing for its employees and their shareholders," Gaido elaborated. "You can't build high-quality cars and trucks with sick employees, with vacancies, with higher productivity costs, and with all the negative impacts which HIV has on a factory and a company."

The Ford HIV/AIDS report evaluates the company's program using the 16 GRI indices, including risk management, contingency planning, performance, prevalence and incidence rates, current and future costs and losses and stakeholder involvement.

Ford released its report just five days after "World AIDS Day" - a day (Dec. 1, 2004) the United Nations used to draw attention to the growing HIV/AIDS crisis. According to UN data, nearly 5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2003, the greatest number in any one year since the beginning of the epidemic. At the global level, the number of people living with HIV continues to grow - from 35 million in 2001 to 38 million in 2003.

Ford also announced today that it was expanding the corporation's HIV/AIDS program to some of the most high-risk regions of the world, including China, India, Russia and Thailand.

Ford Motor Company began its fight to combat HIV/AIDS and build awareness about the disease in 1999 when the company launched its first educational program at the Ford assembly facility in Pretoria, South Africa. Lewis Booth, now Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ford of Europe, was the managing director of Ford's South African operations at the time and responsible for the initial launch.

"Our efforts to address HIV/AIDS in South Africa provided the company with a blueprint that includes confidential HIV/AIDS testing, education and counseling, easier access to antiretroviral drugs, adopting culturally-sensitive practices, working with suppliers on similar programs and annually reporting on our progress," Stone said. "These are the services we are initiating at our facilities in high-priority locations, starting with basic employee education."

The United States State Department honored Ford Motor Company's HIV/AIDS program when it awarded Ford the 2001 Award for Corporate Excellence.

"By taking a successful South African workplace program to Asia and other global locations, Ford is sending a powerful message: HIV/AIDS is not an African problem. It is a global problem," Gaido said. "As an institutional investor, I am pleased to see Ford protecting its employees - and our investment - by responding to HIV/AIDS in Asia and around the world."

Ford and ICCR are working in concert to raise corporate awareness of HIV/AIDS as a humanitarian and business issue. ICCR members from the U.S. Jesuit Conference, Mennonite Mutual Aid and St. Joseph met with Ford Motor Company President Nick Scheele and other Ford officials to discuss the expansion of the company's HIV/AIDS program.

"Ford understands the business and moral imperatives demanding it take action to address HIV/AIDS," Scheele said. "The company will continue to work with communities, governments and agencies and encourage others to adopt similar programs. We must address this humanitarian and health crisis together and acknowledge that even one death from HIV/AIDS is too many."

Daniel E. Rosan, director of Public Health Programs for ICCR concurs with Scheele and others at Ford.

"For shareholders, HIV is a business issue, not a philanthropic issue," Rosan said. "Consistent, measurable reporting is essential to making competent judgments about shareholder value. Ford's acceptance of GRI standards makes it a leader in the automotive industry on this issue."

ABOUT FORD

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, MI., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With more than 327,000 employees worldwide, the company's core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit, Quality Care and Hertz. Ford Motor Company celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003.

ABOUT ICCR

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility is a 30-year-old international coalition of 275 faith-based institutional investors including denominations, religious communities, pension funds, healthcare corporations, foundations and dioceses with combined portfolios worth an estimated $100 billion. ICCR seeks to build a more just and sustainable society by integrating social values into corporate and investor decisions. ICCR is one of the foremost advocacy organizations in the world.

For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Eberwein Ford Motor Company
Phone: +1-313-322-3948
Phone: +1-212-870-2317

For more from this organization:

Ford Motor Company

 

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