By Alison I. Somilleda for the Green Chamber of Commerce
German sportlifestyle company PUMA, known for its groundbreaking work with environmental and social awareness, and global peace initiatives, has partnered with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to support global awareness of biodiversity through the “Play for Life” campaign. The campaign will promote habitat and species conservation at worldwide football events leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and will specifically support the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, a United Nations global initiative to emphasize the importance of biodiversity. International football stars are also contributing through public service announcements that will encourage people to participate in biodiversity conservation. Conservation International has reported that the planet is losing species at a rate of approximately one every 20 minutes, which is a thousand times faster than the normal rate in Earth’s history.
The Play for Life campaign is also focusing on biodiversity awareness in Africa, a continent with many endangered biodiversity hotspots. According to Conservation International, such hotspots comprise 2.3 percent of the Earth’s land surface, and have already lost approximately 70 percent of their original natural vegetation.
PUMA’s primary fundraising tool is the innovative FIFA-approved Africa Unity Kit (uniform and equipment), which is the world’s first “continental football kit.” The kit was designed for the 12 African national football teams that PUMA sponsors and is expected to reflect a new level of international unity and global environmental awareness. The colors used in the Africa Unity Kit, yellow, blue and brown, represent the sun, sky and earth. PUMA mixed soil from several African countries to create the pigment used to develop the earth elements of the kit.
Sales from replica sportswear will help fund African biodiversity programs, with particular emphasis on the continent’s endangered species. A portion of sales from PUMA Yellow “life” Label products including PUMA Unity t-shirts and PUMA Lacelets, special edition shoelaces designed by artist Kehinde Wiley, will also support biodiversity programs.
According to Jochen Zeitz, Chairman and CEO, PUMA AG, “In 2010, Africa will be at the centre of the footballing world. The ‘Play for Life’ campaign and the release of the Africa Unity Kit is a powerful statement for PUMA. PUMA is creating a unique kit embracing the diversity of African Nations teams while valuing the unity of players and supporters towards a common goal. Biodiversity and therefore valuing and protecting all life on our planet is a huge issue, not only in Africa, but around the world – and we are proud to partner with UNEP to raise both awareness and funds through the sale of our Unity products.”
For more information about PUMA’s sustainability initiatives, please visit PUMAVision and related 3p post Puma’s Green Paw Print.
Alison I. Somilleda is a freelance writer and contributor for the San Francisco-based Green Chamber of Commerce, an organization dedicated to building an honest economy for all people and the planet.