04/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

F.O.R.D: Found on Road Delightfully

In a play on words from an unfortunate anagram from years ago, Ford Motor Company has been at the forefront of green automobiles for nearly a decade. This is apparent not only from its advancements in automotive technology but from its return to black ink on its bottom line as well. While the other domestic car companies languished and failed on many levels, Ford is way out in front.

One aspect of Ford's devotion to sustainability that has not been addressed until now is the carbon footprint of its 4,000+ dealerships. At the 2010 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention, Ford announced a "Go Green" Dealership Sustainability Program. The goal of the voluntary program is to "collaborate with dealers to implement cost-effective ways to improve the energy-efficiency of their facilities, resulting in a long-term reduction in individual dealerships' carbon footprint as well as overall operating costs." Ford will send sustainability experts to the dealers to help them determine their needs and design a program to meet them. There are also state and federal tax incentives available to those who participate.

The program is designed for those with existing facilities as well those who are looking to build new ones. According to Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, "In keeping with Ford's commitment to the environment, this program is a great fit for our dealers because it provides a variety of energy-efficient improvement options regardless of the current age and design of the facility."

This is actually a sustainability story with a bit of a twist in that many large corporations begin their sustainability programs with their physical plants and operations and then moving on to their products and services. In Ford's case, it's just the opposite. They went to market with their green products and are now taking care of business at home.

Jonathan A. Schein is President/CEO of ScheinMedia and Publisher of