Puma Propagates Sustainability Down the Supply Chain

In these days of outsourcing, where manufacturers are often little more than design centers plus central hubs of supplier networks scattered across the globe, there is ample opportunity to dodge the hard questions about sustainability by simply claiming that “those decisions are out of our hands.”

Retail giant Wal-Mart stepped into the breach with its Sustainability Value Networks  which directly involves its suppliers in a number of green initiatives. Now sporting goods manufacturer Puma, in cooperation with the Global Reporting Initiative, has announced today, at the GRI Global Conference in Amsterdam, its intention to bring unprecedented transparency as well as enhanced social and working conditions to workers throughout their strategic supplier network.

Twenty Puma suppliers based in China, Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries – responsible for the production of 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. The first sustainability reports are expected to be released in 2011/2012.

“Supply chain sustainability reporting is a key part of Puma’s overall sustainability strategy,” said Reiner Hengstmann, Puma’s Global Head of Social and Environmental Affairs. “Without sustainable suppliers, we will not be able to produce sustainable products or credibly report about Puma’s own sustainability initiatives. The GANTSCh project helps to ensure that our suppliers fully embrace the concept of sustainability and introduce respective programs in their companies.”

Puma originally joined a GRI pilot project called “Transparency in the Supply Chain” back in 2006 in which three South African Puma suppliers were trained on issuing sustainability reports. According to the participants, the project helped them learn how to measure sustainability performance by using key performance indicators; to become more transparent and learn how to report on energy consumption; waste production; work accidents; and other issues. Impahla Clothing, a Puma supplier in Capetown, became the first carbon-neutral garment supplier on the African continent in 2009 as the result of this training.

Puma’s mission is to become the most sustainable sport-lifestyle company in the world. Increasing transparency in its supply chain through reporting initiatives of this sort is therefore an important element in PUMA’s overall sustainability strategy. The company is also responding proactively to accusations of low labor standards a few years back in its supplier factories by emphasizing transparency throughout its supply chain.


RP Siegel is the co-author of the eco-thriller Vapor Trails.

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RP Siegel

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. His publications include business and technical articles as well as books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an adventure novel about sustainability. RP is a professional engineer - a prolific inventor with 52 patents and President of Rain Mountain LLC a an independent product development group. He is also active in his community of Rochester, NY. A regular contributor to Mechanical Engineering magazine, RP recently returned from Abu Dhabi where he traveled as the winner to the 2015 Sustainability Week blogging competition.. Follow @RPSiegel on Twitter. Contact: bobolink52@gmail.com