Our corporate level environmental performance was already covered in the 2015 target review chapter. In addition, PUMA sponsored the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris with clothing for the stewards and stewardesses who assisted visitors to find the conference. French Handball World Champion Luc Abalo helped to communicate this small but symbolic step in support of the climate conference.
As part of the Commit to Action Campaign on the Road to Paris, PUMA formally committed to developing a science-based target for climate change within the next two years. We also publicly committed to continue reporting on our carbon footprint and climate change program as part of mainstream financial reporting and to a responsible corporate engagement in climate policy.
The Environmental Profit and Loss Account (E P&L) from Kering clearly indicates that the majority of the environmental footprint is caused in the manufacturing and raw material stages. Therefore, the environmental program of PUMA does not stop at our own company, but naturally expands into our supply chain.
For over ten years already, every supplier compliance audit conducted has covered core labor standards, occupational health and safety, and basic environmental aspects.
“We need brands that ideally implement a sustainable chemical management in the supply chain. PUMA can be one of those examples and contribute
to gradually improve the standards in the supply chain. There are already committed
manufacturers, who have the technologies and know-how, in order to reach the next level of a sustainable production.”
Peter Waeber, CEO, bluesign technologies
With the creation of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Group (ZDHC) in 2011 and the subsequent formulation of a ZDHC joint environmental audit protocol, PUMA has gone one step further; in 2015, we made sure our largest vertically integrated suppliers, as well as material suppliers have undergone at least one detailed environmental audit.
To avoid duplication of effort and audit fatigue, PUMA joined forces with other brands in the sporting goods sector, and accepts environmental audits conducted by other ZDHC brands as well as the Leather Working Group (LWG) and bluesign®.
With these co-operations in place, PUMA has taken the lead and conducted environmental audits for twelve key material suppliers globally, including four factories in mainland China, three in Taiwan, three in Bangladesh, one in Turkey and one in Guatemala. The twelve factories involve different types ranging from knitting mills, dyeing mills, tanneries, synthetic leather producers, to zipper suppliers, golf club manufacturers and vertical apparel suppliers. These factories were either audited by PUMA’s internal auditors or the global audit firm ITS. From the perspective of PUMA divisions, there are five apparel factories, three footwear factories, three accessory factories, and one COBRA PUMA Golf factory covered.
From the results of the audits it becomes evident that most of the material suppliers audited still need to go a long way to be fully aligned with the ZDHC environmental audit protocol (Version 2.0), and some were found to be lacking even very basic requirements.
In the meantime, each audited supplier has already implemented a double-digit number of corrective actions. We will continue to follow up with our key material suppliers for not only environmental performance, but start to assess them for social performance as well.
To supplement the environmental auditing, PUMA has initiated waste water testing for our 33 largest wet processing facilities, again in co-operation with other brands of our sector. The results of this waste water testing campaign are published on the website of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) in China, under the individual name of each supplier company.
To support further alignment within our industry as part of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), we rolled out the SAC Higg Index Environmental Facilities Module to over 100 PUMA key suppliers in 2015. Expanding on a similar effort which hit 77 suppliers mainly from Tier 1 of our supply chain, we have now expanded the SAC Higg coverage also specifically to our material suppliers.
We hope that the expansion of the Higg Index in 2016 will integrate environmental auditing and allow for the collection of detailed E-KPIs at supplier level. In the meantime, we have been collecting PUMA-specific regular environmental KPIs from our key suppliers over the last years. Please find the results of this data collection in table T.10.
As we can see from the table T.10, the year 2015 saw significant reductions for all E-KPIs compared to the previous year.
Reflecting on our original targets to improve those KPIs by 25% between 2011 and 2015 it is clear that this target has been met for water consumption in all three product categories. Accessories and Footwear met the waste target, while Apparel reported an increase of waste during the target period. The energy target was met by Accessories only, with Apparel and Footwear reporting a more or less stable energy consumption per pair or piece over time and thus failed the reduction target.
It is encouraging to see that all three product divisions realized savings in terms of CO₂ per piece or pair, even though the savings ranked only from 3% to 9%.
Supplier Efficiency Program SAVE
Our large-scale resource efficiency program SAVE came to a conclusion at the end of 2015. Thirty-five PUMA and H&M key suppliers in the countries Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and Indonesia have undergone extensive training, received detailed on-site assessments, and were provided with a list of economically viable resource efficiency measures to save energy, water and waste.
Overall, 321 potential measures were identified. Out of these, 222 measures were reported with an average payback period of two years, indicating a saving potential of over USD 5 million.
We will continue to work with the suppliers participating in SAVE to realize those savings and consequently share the positive experience with other suppliers to multiply the effect.
The year 2015 marked a change in the raw material strategy of PUMA. While we were still listed by Textile Exchange as the 10th largest consumer of organic cotton and 5th largest user of recycled polyester in their 2015 sector benchmark report, significant upcharges on those more sustainable raw materials in combination with a decreasing overall profitability of the company meant that we had to find more cost effective solutions when it comes to more sustainable raw material usage.
We continue to believe that to create real impact, more sustainable raw materials have to be used in significant volumes and not only for niche sustainability collections. Therefore, we have identified bluesign® certified technical fabrics and cotton from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) as key materials in our apparel and accessories ranges. Leather from Leather Working Group-certified tanneries and Forest Stewardship certified paper and cardboard complement the list of cost effective more sustainable raw materials.
To fill this new raw material strategy with life, we have ensured that our main shoe box is 100% FSC® certified. This shoe box accounts for over 70% of all shoe boxes sold in 2015, a value that will be increased further in 2016.
Over 90% of all leather used in 2015 was sourced from medal rated tanneries of the Leather Working Group.
Our partnership with bluesign technologies was extended during the last year, resulting in 15% of all polyester used in our Apparel and 20% of accessories collections being bluesign® certified.
For cotton, we continued the use of organic cotton but with 3% on a much smaller scale than before. In parallel, we prepared for membership in the Better Cotton Initiative, which will officially start on January 1st, 2016. From next year onwards, we plan to use up to 20% BCI cotton in our products.
“With our partners like PUMA our work is targeted at reducing the use of pesticides and their toxicity in the production of cotton, making better use of water, thereby increasing yields, and improving livelihoods. All of this serves one fundamental goal, which is to become mainstream.”
Alan McClay, CEO, Better Cotton Initiative