According to a Mercury Marine press release, this year’s launch of the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s innovative V-8 and V-6 four-stroke outboard engine platforms was the largest new powerplant release in its almost-80-year history. In one fell swoop, the company introduced 19 different outboards.
That’s a headline grabber, for sure, and plenty has been written about it. But there’s another big story—one that’s even more ongoing—coming out of Mercury Marine that most of the media is missing.
Thanks to its consistent sustainability efforts, Mercury Marine is as a green as an engine company gets. Highlights from the company’s 2017 Sustainability Report include:
- Installing 2,000 rooftop solar panels at its facility in Petit‑Rechain, Belgium, which cuts annual electricity costs by more than 30 percent.
- Investing in and successfully implementing new systems to redirect and reuse water for multiple purposes, and to more efficiently cool and heat water for industrial applications.
- Implementing significant improvements to HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems, resulting in a reduction of related energy consumption by more than 11 billion BTUs annually and improved indoor air quality.
- Recycling close to 750 tons of mixed paper, corrugated containers, plastic shrink wrap and drinking bottles since 2015. Additionally, approximately 950 tons of wood pallets were diverted from landfills and reconditioned for reuse.
- Using manufacturing balers to prepare more than 1,200 tons of cardboard for recycling in 2015 and 2016. The recycling of these materials resulted in energy savings of approximately 470,000 kilowatts, enough to power approximately 30 homes for one year.
Those eager to learn more can access the complete report by clicking here. But for most folks with even a casual interest in conservation and sustainability, that’s pretty impressive for any company that’s part of a publicly traded corporation. But it’s even more impressive, and more important from a public relations standpoint, for the world largest marine engine company.
Let’s say you’re cynical—that you believe all of Mercury Marine efforts are nothing more than a pure PR play. So what? It’s good PR, make that great PR, for a company in an industry long-vilified in the mainstream media for being wasteful and dirty, despite radical improvements in fuel economy and emissions reductions in the past 10 to 15 years.
Then again, if you know anyone in leadership at Mercury Marine you also know that environmental stewardship and sustainability are core values for those folks and integral to the company’s overall corporate culture. Sometimes, people do the right thing just because they’re the right things to do. That it works in PR is an ancillary benefit.
Mercury Marine’s sustainability initiatives represent the rarest of rare birds—a true win-win for everyone involved, from those who work at the company, to those who buy its products and to those who couldn’t could care less about either. There’s nothing wrong with being a green machine and building them, especially for a marine engine company.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.