Thursday, June 24, 2010

Puma's Sustainable Supply Chain

Supply chain sustainability reporting is a key feature of Puma’s overall sustainability strategy. At the GRI Global Conference in Amsterdam, sporting goods manufacturer Puma, in cooperation with the Global Reporting Initiative, announced its intention to expand environmental considerations and improve working conditions throughout their strategic supplier network.

Those responsible for more than two-thirds of all Puma products will receive GRI certified training on transparent measurement and reporting on their sustainability performance using the GRI G3 Guidelines – the world’s most widely-used framework for sustainability reporting. These twenty Puma suppliers are based in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries. The first sustainability reports are expected to be released in 2011/2012.

Reiner Hengstmann, Puma’s Global Head of Social and Environmental Affairs said, “Without sustainable suppliers, we will not be able to produce sustainable products or credibly report about Puma’s own sustainability initiatives.”

Puma originally joined a GRI pilot project called “Transparency in the Supply Chain” back in 2006. Under this project three South African Puma suppliers were trained on issuing sustainability reports. Managers learned how to measure sustainability concepts such as waste diversion, energy efficiency, and other performance indicators.

As the result of this training Impahla Clothing, a Puma supplier in Capetown, was the first carbon-neutral garment supplier on the African continent in 2009. Impalah's 2009 Sustainability Reports reveals a 40% increase in production, a doubling of its permanent staff, and a 10% drop in absenteeism. The company's bottom line improved through the cost savings gained.

Similar projects are underway in China, South Asia, Turkey, and Portugal. By engaging with its vendors and offering them further resources, PUMA has empowered these companies to proactively address the weak points in their operations, while also giving them the tools to find those improvements independently.

Many companies can learn from PUMA's leadership. PUMA has added value to its offering by changing its corporate mission from the most 'desirable' sporting brand, to 'desirable AND sustainable.' Once accused of having low labor standards, Puma is now emphasizing transparency and using supply chain reporting as a central part of its strategy to become the most sustainable sport-lifestyle company in the world.

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