Be green

By Laurie Fried, chief sustainability officer and director of Community Relations, West Marine

One of my most challenging – yet also fulfilling – tasks at West Marine, the nation's largest supplier of boating supplies and accessories, is to work together with our customers, vendors and associates to initiate programs that work to reduce our impact on the environment and to improve and protect marine habitats. The oceans and waterways are our livelihood, and we need make sure that future generations, will be able to enjoy the pleasures of boating and fishing that we enjoy.

West Marine is committed to sustainability. Our Watsonville Support Center, distribution centers and local stores are involved in a number of environmental initiatives including fish line recycling, beach clean-ups, battery recycling and Community Days for local and select national environmental organizations. Focusing on the triple bottom line; people, planet and profits is essential to being successful in this new millennium.

I encourage boating and fishing-related companies to seek partnerships with organizations who have a common mission. One example of an effective partnership is a collaboration West Marine participated in with NMMA, ASA, recreational fishing groups and ocean conservancy organizations. We formed a coalition to produce and distribute Blue Ocean Institute's Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood. The Seafood Guide helps consumers make informed choices about the fish they purchase and consume. This educational program involved negotiating the opinions and beliefs of various parties, but we are all working together to help spread the word and have fish for future generations. (For a copy of the guide go to )

Another great example of our "greener boating" initiatives is a new program called the West Marine Sustainability Council, which is made up of company representatives that will measure West Marine's recycling and energy reduction efforts. We look forward to watching this program evolve and are hopeful about the success it will bring to our people – the environment – and the bottom line.

This contribution is one in a series of solutions to the industry’s challenges as offered by female boating business professionals for the March 2008 issue of Boating Industry magazine. To view the article, Leading the way, including links to the entire list of solutions, click here.

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