GW teams with Ford to uphold human rights

GW’s Institute for Corporate Responsibility is teaming with Ford Motor Company to ensure the carmaker lives up to its standards for upholding human rights.

The Institute for Corporate Responsibility, a center within the School of Business devoted to researching and teaching corporate responsibility strategies, will help Ford develop its own ethics policy for dealing with human rights issues that arise from the collection of raw materials as the company expands its manufacturing base into countries like China, South Africa and Mexico, David Berdish, manager of social sustainability for Ford, said.

Raw materials used by Ford to build new automotive technologies are often acquired from developing, unstable countries, creating human rights issues in the company’s supply chain, Berdish said.

John Forrer, associate director of the Institute, said the project will seek to solidify Ford’s place as a trusted global partner.

To achieve this goal, the project will identify examples of corporate practices that build trust, and pinpoint actions the company can take to advance peace. It will also encourage learning from leaders in the areas of sustainability, trust and corporate responsibility.

The project will also include a study of U.S. and international polices addressing the issues of human rights and the creation of a set of standards and expectations for Ford’s global interactions.

“Working with firms like Ford help us enhance our understanding of how to move from theory to practice,” Forrer said. “It also provides an invaluable experience to see how one of the world’s leading corporations addresses issues such as peace and human rights.”

Ford’s project with the University will continue to increase its importance as the company expands further into the global market.

Berdish said partnering with academic institutions would benefit the company and allow it to broaden its global perspective.

“Sustainability isn’t just about the environment,” Berdish said in a news release. “A company that is truly concerned about sustainability is concerned about its entire global impact – environmental, social and economic.”

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