Modern Mix Vancouver recently attended a Summer Sustainability Feast, hosted by Ford Canada. Over the past few years, most of my interactions with Ford through Modern Mix Vancouver has been about the features of their newest vehicles and the places they’ve taken me (like Othello Tunnels in Hope, or for a weekend getaway to Semiahmoo Resort in Washington, or a summer bobsleigh experience in Whistler). This event, however, took a different angle as I was introduced to Ford Canada’s commitment to sustainability through the materials used in their vehicles, demonstrated in the most beautiful way, through an appropriately-named #FarmtoCar dinner at the UBC Farm.
What goes into a vehicle at the beginning of its lifecycle and what comes out at the end of production contributes greatly to its environmental friendliness. The outdoor long table dinner was all about the sustainable and surprising biomaterials that Ford uses in the manufacturing of its vehicles. Every course served highlighted at least one ingredient getting a second life in Ford vehicles!
Sustainable materials introduced in the manufacturing of Ford vehicles include coconut (used in the trunk mats of the Ford Focus Electric), rice hulls and wheat straw (to reinforce plastics), and cellulose (replacing fiberglass in the centre console of the Lincoln MKX). Since 2011, all Ford vehicles built in North America have soy foam in their seat cushions and backs which saves an estimated 2.3 million kilograms of petroleum per year.
Byproducts of agave, sugar cane, tomatoes, dandelion, corn, bamboo, and algae are some of the other materials Ford is currently innovating with; this has resulted in some interesting partnerships. To experiment with agave and tomatoes, Ford has partnered with tequila manufacturer Jose Cuervo, and ketchup company Heinz, to see how they can use otherwise wasted materials, and apply to the car manufacturing industry.
Overall the event was very informative about a different side of Ford that I was not previously familiar with, and the UBC Farm was a very relevant setting to host the dinner. Sustainable manufacturing practices are often a feature that is overlooked in the consumer vehicle selection process, but if this is an important quality to you, you can get more information on Ford’s commitment to sustainability in their 2014/2015 Sustainability Report.
Photography Credit: Jenn Chan Photography