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Every year JUST Capital ranks publicly traded companies based on a number of criteria, then crowns the winner. It looks at the different qualities of each that includes its relationship with workers, customers, communities, the environment, and shareholders. For 2022, with its lead in electric vehicle manufacturing, it was assumed that Tesla would be crowned the most environmentally responsible car company. It wasn’t.

What’s the American automaker that is the most environmentally?

A claw crane moves a scrapped automobile | Oliver Bunic/Bloomberg/Getty

America’s most environmentally responsible automaker is Ford, according to JUST. The company came in 20th place overall, beating General Motors by 10 points. No other American auto manufacturer was listed in any of the first 500 slots. Placing in the top three were Alphabet, Intel Corporation, and in third Microsoft. Apple landed in seventh place.

If the environment isn’t of concern to you, well, that’s your problem. But there is an undercurrent of Americans wanting more disclosure of how companies deal with climate change and other environmental issues. So much so, in fact, that the Securities and Exchange Commission wants more extensive environmental, social, and governance disclosures, known as ESGs.

Do Americans care if manufacturers are environmental?

Ford manufacturing
Houston Pastor Develron Walker reacts after being given a new Expedition | Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty

So the SEC is looking to have companies make public those matters, and with this will become a more public scorecard. Customers will then have the chance to see comparisons by the federal government of how responsible these companies really are. That, in turn, could affect its bottom line, as Americans become more aware of climate change and other environmental concerns.

JUST says that based on its internal polling, 86 percent of all Americans are in favor of this disclosure. And that this favorability cuts across the increasingly divided ideologies in this country. So, the disclosures don’t favor one or another political party. 

What is Ford doing to make it the top environmentally sensitive automaker? 

Ford manufacturing
A worker assembles a Ford Super Duty pickup | Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty

First, JUST lists the company’s tracking toward a 1.5-degree Celsius reduction. It also says Ford has the highest amount of renewable energy, at 10 percent, of all vehicle manufacturers. Ford also recycles 90 percent of waste through manufacturing. 

The company has already reduced its global energy use by 30 percent. It is also on track to be using only locally-sourced renewable energy for all of its manufacturing facilities by 2035, and it will no longer use single-use plastic by 2030. Globally, it is behind certain hunger relief initiatives, poverty, and water conservation. 

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Auto assembly line | global moment sullstein bild via Getty

Just How Environmentally Friendly Are New Electric SUVs?

Thirty years ago it created the Ford Wildlife Foundation, which today continues preservation and biodiversity around the world. As for products, we all know about its electric vehicle output, including the first EV pickup. Which, by the way, Ford can make fast enough.

That also is an indication that selling environmentally responsible products is important. These are all progressive initiatives that, frankly, we as auto scribes are not all aware of. But they haven’t gone past JUST Capital’s yearly rankings.