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Ford, VW, Toyota Win Kudos

Makers hailed for environmental, human rights practices.

by on Oct.24, 2011

Ford was one of three automakers honored for its environmental and social leadership.

Three automakers – Toyota Motor Corporation, Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG – have been recognized for their leadership in environmental policies and practices, human rights and their impact on the automotive supply chain through the development of strong workplace policies and programs, and leading product safety policies and practices.

“Global automakers are making major strides in the right direction on several key issues,” noted Rebecca Henson, an analyst for Calvert Investments.

The Calvert Sustainability Research Department reviewed the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, practices of leading automakers before naming the three as industry leaders.

“This is an encouraging development that reflects the emergence of more thoughtful industry leaders who recognize that ESG considerations are now essential. Companies like Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota are industry leaders on certain ESG issues, in ways that should inspire and guide other automakers that still have some way to go to catch up to them,” she added.

Calvert’s investment evaluation of auto companies took into consideration seven environmental, social and corporate governance criteria including workplace practices, human rights, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, governance and ethics, product quality and safety, community relations and environment.

The Calvert Report included an assessment of U.S. manufacturers Ford and General Motors; the largest  European auto company, Volkswagen; the largest Japanese manufacturer, Toyota; and a leading luxury/performance company, BMW.

The review found that, despite the recent economic turmoil, the American auto industry has emerged with a fundamentally different and more positive approach to sustainability, more focused on making cleaner, more efficient vehicles and less resistant to more aggressive fuel economy and emissions standards. The review has also found that the industry appears more focused on vehicle safety, particularly in light of recent unintended acceleration problems. Moreover, some automakers are increasingly trying to stay ahead of the curve on emerging sustainability issues, such as concerns over conflict minerals.

Calvert’s Sustainability Research Department routinely reviews the sustainability performance of an industry segment to keep the company abreast of emerging ESG issues and to update the Calvert Signature Strategy sustainability criteria. This process allows the department to refine its analysis of industry developments and provides the basis for updating sustainability criteria and its application to individual companies.