There's more to making a car green than just the car itself.

Ideally, the whole process of making the car should be as environmentally-friendly as possible too. Ford is doing just that, having cut global carbon dioxide emissions at its plants by over a third since 2000.

CO2 emissions have dropped by 37 percent per vehicle between 2000 and 2012, and overall the drop is even greater. Total CO2 emissions have fallen by 4.65 million metric tons, or 47 percent lower than 2000's figures.

Take the automaker's continually-improving vehicles into account too--and similar efforts across the wider industry, and it's clear how hard the auto industry is working to clean up its act.

The figures come from Ford's voluntary sustainability report, "Blueprint for Sustainability: Our Journey Continues". A saccharine title perhaps, but behind it Ford publishes data on aspects such as water use, energy consumption and cuts in wastage and landfill.

Some of these latter indicators have dropped significantly in just a short space of time. Water use dropped by 1.95 million cubic meters from 2011 to 2012, cutting cost (by $3 million) as well as energy consumption. 2012's figures also marked a 62 percent drop since 2000.

Waste-to-landfill fell by 19 percent per vehicle between 2011 and 2012, and overall global energy efficiency improved by 6.4 percent between 2011-2012.

That's all pretty impressive, but from 2010 to 2025, Ford is expecting another 30 percent drop in CO2, and that's just at factories alone.

Building cars may make up only a small proportion of a car's lifetime emissions--around 6 percent for raw materials and assembly--but all those small proportions sure add up when you're producing millions of cars per year.


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