Ford has announced plans to survey 35 top global suppliers on their energy use and estimated greenhouse gas emissions in a bid to better understand the carbon footprint of its supply chain.

It will use the data to create a broad-based carbon management approach for its supply chain. The 35 suppliers represent close to 30% of Ford's US$65bn annual procurement spending.

Tony Brown, Ford group vice president, global purchasing, said: “Suppliers play an important role as we look to reduce our overall carbon footprint and drive more efficiency in an energy constrained world. This initiative builds on our leadership in collaborating with suppliers and gives them a way to participate in solving an issue that faces our entire industry."

Among the 35 are suppliers of seats, steering systems, tyres and metal components which require more energy to produce and have a larger carbon footprint.

While many of these suppliers already measure their greenhouse gas emissions, Ford said its project will allow greater collaboration and sharing of processes and practices to drive emissions reductions and help meet future regulatory requirements.

Susan Cischke, group vice president, sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said: “Climate change has the potential to affect all parts of our business, and is connected to other important issues - from water availability and energy security to human rights. Understanding the carbon footprint of our supply chain is a crucial part of our comprehensive global strategy to reduce greenhouse gases."

Any reductions by suppliers would be in addition to Ford's own goal of reducing greenhouse gases 30% by 2020 from the company's 2006 model year baseline.

Randy Leslie, vice president and general manager of the Ford business unit for seat supplier Johnson Controls, said: “As a company, we are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2018, and are doing so through efficient manufacturing processes and the development of eco-friendly products.

He added that Johnson Controls also has a rating system that enables it to measure the sustainability activity of its own supply base.