Hep cat: Puma’s sustainable paw print
The German “sportlifestyle” company Puma is an old hand at a relatively new corporate exercise, the sustainability report.
The footwear, apparel and accessories designer published its fifth sustainability report last week. The 121-page opus covering the 2007/2008 reporting period was released exclusively online “for environmental reasons.”
In the latest sustainability report Puma sets a goal to reduce energy and water consumption and “waste creation” 25 percent by 2010 based on its results during its 2005/2006 reporting period.
It’s “only” five sustainability reports but the company issued its first such report in 2001, virtually the dark ages for the term “corporate social responsibility.” So Puma is in its tenth year of CSR reporting. Most other companies are on their first or second, or have yet to start. Puma’s experience shows in the organization and depth of its CSR programs.
The report details the company’s progress to enhance working and social standards in its supply chain, build capacity at its suppliers’ factories, broaden its range of sustainable products and reduce the company’s environmental footprint through the PUMAVision category puma.safe.
It also outlines PUMA’s activities in supporting artists and creative organizations through the puma.creative category and initiatives to support global peace through puma.peace.
Puma says the Puma SAFE concept “creates a symbiotic relationship between our environment, employees, business partners and other stakeholders.
“Our aim is not only to make the production of our products transparent and environmentally friendly to our partners and target groups, but also to continually improve our standards,” the report says.
Full integration of environmental policy remains “a big challenge…our long-term economic prospects depend on embedding environmental protection and sustainable development in our business strategy” by eliminating harmful substances in products and controlling air, water and land emissions.
Puma says it was the first sporting goods company to ban PVC (polyvinyl chloride) from its product range because production and disposal of PVC can damage the environment. Puma instead works with alternative products such as polyurethane, silicon, ethylene vinyl acetate or rubber.
It has a strict restricted substances list that can be found in the 109-page puma.safe Handbook, Environmental Standards.
The company chairs the Federation of European Sporting Goods Environmental Committee and has established Environmental Key Performance Indicators to track its environmental performance.
More recently it has extended this monitoring to its logistics and supply partners “whom we invite and support to develop their own environmental management systems.”
Puma says it adhered to strict environmental and energy-saving standards when it built its new company headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany. It features a 1,000 square meter (10,764 square foot) photovoltaic power system coupled with another 140 square meters (1,507 square feet) of solar modules built into window facades. The company says this will save 35 tons of CO2 a year.
For the first time Puma tracked the CO2 emissions of its logistics operations worldwide, “taking onto consideration the transport from the country of production to the main warehouses worldwide, where the final distribution to retail stores occurs.
Puma found that across all transport modes it hauled more than 119 tons of freight in 2008, producing 64.1 tons of CO2 emissions. The biggest emissions came from sea and airfreight transportation providers.
Puma says that in cooperation with its main logistics provider, Maersk Line, “we continue to explore possibilities to reduce the environmental ‘paw print’ of our logistics operation. Options include the use of combined sea-air shipments to avoid longer air transport segments, consolidation of shipments to ensure the greatest efficiency and as far as possible direct deliveries to avoid “unnecessary transport gaps.”
Because it is still early in this process Puma has not yet developed CO2 emission reduction targets for its logistics operations. It voluntarily reports its CO2 strategy and emissions, including logistics and direct suppliers, each year to the Carbon Disclosure Project.