Puma have long been the sloganless sports brand. Nike, of course just do it and for Adidas impossible is nothing. But this week Puma demonstrated you don’t need an aspirational slogan to make an impact and what’s more they showed exactly how to measure their impact as they became the first major company in the world to put a financial value on the eco services they use to produce their products.
Ever since they were stung so badly in the 90s for their labour practices Nike had, until now, led the race for making their supply chain as transparent as possible but Puma like Usain Bolt (who coincidentally wears Puma running spikes) have sprinted in to the lead by putting a monetary value on their environmental impact which they have calculated as costing £84m in 2010.
The cost was split almost equally between GHG emissions and water use and much to their surprise (but not to mine) the biggest impact was found at the sourcing of raw material such as cotton and cattle ranching. The Tier 3 and 4 suppliers account for 36% of GHG cost and 52% of water cost. Puma’s own manufacturing cost a fraction in comparison.
As a brand they maybe sloganless but their sustainability programme is branded and right now it’s difficult to argue with the aptly named PumaVision. As what’s truly visionary is the fact they are not stopping at just the environmental impact of their operations. Stage 2 of the process will examine the company’s social impacts including working conditions and cultural heritage. Stage 3 will put a value against their positive economic impacts through jobs and tax payments ultimately resulting in a full environmental and social value for the company. This is true triple bottom line reporting for sustainability.
This should be the game changer to sustainability reporting that is needed, a starter’s gun for other brands to join the sustainability race in defining and communicating their social, environmental and economic impact on the planet in the most transparent way.
And as a consumer the possibility of being able to pick an item off the shelf, like a pair of trainers, and be able know the impact of them on the planet gives a whole new take on knowing whether that pair of shiny new sneakers really is worth it.