When Andy Hobbs started working on water use at Ford, the company didn’t know how much water it used, or what that water cost. Today, Ford knows that to the nickel — and the water that’s used to make 100 cars now makes 220. “When we started, we didn’t know how much water we used, or even what it cost. This is important. We don’t make things happen overnight. It takes years.”

Hobbs is director of environmental quality for Ford worldwide. He started his career as the engineer in charge of paint at a Ford factory near Liverpool, making Ford Escorts. He lives in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Hobbs knows that good business decisions and good environmental decisions are not mutually exclusive. “We as a company, we as an industry, are in a unique situation. Most big companies — their environmental footprint is based on their buildings. Ours is complicated in that the product we produce has a bigger impact than the manufacturing process itself. That’s an interesting position.”


 “At Ford, we want to set aspirational goals. The most recent one I suggested: What if we didn’t use any water in manufacturing? That’s going to be hard. It may be impossible. But we can start by saying, we’re not going to use any potable water in manufacturing. It’s a mindset.”

– Andy Hobbs

Hear more from Hobbs and connect with water leaders from a wide range of perspectives and sectors at Water Leaders Summit 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Registration closes May 19.

– Charles Fishman
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