Suzuki adds microplastic collection devices to boat motors

Image: Suzuki

Customers in all markets will receive the devices, plus instructions for fitting and using them, with motor models DF115B, DF115BG, DF140B and DF140BG.

Suzuki has been developing the devices for almost two years and has gone ahead with the commercial launch after testing in 14 countries in Asia, Europe and North America. They are capable of collective plastics on and near the water surface, and operate whenever the engine is running.

“We have been talking to boaters about this unique innovation at shows and events since it was announced as a concept and it has been incredibly well received; we can’t wait to see the first outboards with it fitted as standard to be sold to customers in the UK,” said Suzuki Great Britain’s head of marine Mark Beeley.

Tackling plastic pollution in marine habitats is undoubtedly important. As of 2015, 150 million metric tonnes of plastic were estimated to be circulating in oceans. Plastics have been found in the world’s deepest ocean trenches and items of all sizes, from industrial fishing nets, to hand-held packaging, to microplastics, pose their own challenges to the environment.

Suzuki has organised waterside clean-up campaigns annually in Japan since 2011 and, to date, more than 10,000 people have participated.

However, questions do arise as to whether the move from Suzuki will be interpreted as greenwashing. Suzuki’s sustainability strategy, ‘Milestone 2030’, contains no numerical targets for reducing waste this decade from manufacturing, used products or packaging. The company has, however, posted that it has avoided 11 tonnes of plastic packaging use since October 2020.

On climate, Suzuki’s strategy pledges a 45% reduction in emissions intensity between 2016 and 2030, but this only covers business activities, and not the customer use of products. There is a separate target to reduce in-use emissions from new road vehicles by 40% by 2030, against a 2010 baseline. There is no target for emissions from boat motors and other product use.

The Transition Pathway Initiative considers Suzuki’s climate approach aligned with a 2C temperature pathway and does not believe it has yet adopted climate action as a strategic priority. InfluenceMap, which assesses how companies are using their communications and networks to lobby for or against climate action, gives Suzuki an overall grade of just ‘E+’.

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