NEW YORK --- Natural Health magazine has given Ford Motor Co. the publication's Green Choice Award, recognizing the automaker for its environmental initiatives. 

Ford and its products were judged in a number of different areas, such as alternative energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use, recycling, operational energy footprints, and LEED certifications. All data collected by Natural Health magazine was submitted by Ford. 

The following are some highlights of Ford's efforts: 

  • Each year, Ford conserves up to 900 tons of carbon emissions and 600,000 gallons of water because Escape Hybrid seats are made with 100 percent post-industrial recycled fabric.
  • Since 2000, Ford has cut its global energy use by nearly one-third, in part by upgrading plants with more efficient equipment.
  • Ford gives employees two paid days off a year to do volunteer work. In 2008, they committed a total of 124,000 hours. At 17 of the company's facilities, staffers have turned vacant plots of land into habitats for local plants and animals, and created walking trails to encourage nearby residents to visit.
  • Ford's EcoBoost engine, which the company launched this year, improves vehicle fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.  

The Green Choice Award was presented to Ford, along with nine other corporations, by renowned actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. in New York City. Accepting the award on behalf of Ford was David Berdish, manager of sustainable business development. 

"Ford facilities are often faced with complex environmental challenges, and every year -- even in hard times -- our employees rise to the challenge with innovative solutions that reduce environmental impact while promoting sustainability," Berdish said. "The Green Choice Award honors their achievements and challenges others to take bold steps."