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Commentary: How Black Goes Green

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When Mercury Marine‘s 2015 Sustainability Report landed in my email box this morning, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be a compelling read. Just the title had me rubbing my eyes and yawning. But guess what?

I was wrong. I read every bit of it.

OK, so it wasn’t one of those, “I laughed, I cried, you have to read it” page-turners. But it did arm me with more than enough information to take on the next lost and poorly informed soul who declares the entire marine industry is “dirty,” and scolds those who enjoy its products for their NBA center-size “carbon footprints.”

Say what you will about the Fond du Lac, Wis., marine industry giant—and everyone seems to have a strong opinion—the company busted some serious environmental sustainability moves last year according to the report, including:

Reducing energy consumption—In 2014, Mercury reduced energy consumption by implementing a number of energy-saving best practices. For example, the company improved machine cell efficiency with the installation of a new grinding operation at its gear and shaft factory that uses 84 percent less energy than the previous system. Overall, global energy consumption at Mercury has been reduced 32 percent since 2006.

Decreasing use of natural resources and minimizing waste—Since Mercury’s oily wastewater treatment system was implemented in April 2013, approximately 1 million gallons were treated through the end of 2014. This resulted in the elimination of more than 40,000 miles of highway driving by semi-trailer trucks.

Introducing new products with improved fuel efficiency that produce fewer emissions—In 2014, Mercury introduced several new products, including a 4.5L stern-drive engine and the 75-115hp family of FourStroke outboards that reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency.

Want to talk recycling? Mercury Marine literally does tons of it, as in 227 tons of mixed paper, corrugated containers, plastic shrinkwrap and drinking bottles. In addition, the company diverted 312 tons of wooden pallets from landfills and reconditioned them for reuse. In 2014, Mercury Marine manufacturing balers recycled approximately 650 tons of cardboard. The recycling of these materials resulted in energy savings of approximately 255,000 kilowatts, which is enough to power 16 homes for one year.

I could go and on, but I’ll let you read the rest of the report yourselves. (And you can download it by clicking here.) But even if you don’t, you probably know a little more now about the world’s largest marine products company and its commitment to sustaining environmental resources than you did when you woke up this morning. Nothing wrong with that, right?

In short, now you know a bit about how black goes green.

Related Story: Mercury Marine Named ‘Green Master’

Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image

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