Puma Updates Environmental Profit & Loss Statement

Releasing a profit and loss statement on the environmental and social impact of a company’s performance is a bold move. First of all, quantifying these parameters can be daunting. How can you quantify the social and environmental impact of the number of liters you use in your manufacturing process, for example?

It’s not to say that you cannot and it becomes considerably easier if you just assign a dollar value for everything. This is what Puma has done in its latest environmental P&L statement.

Back in May this year, Puma released the preliminary results of its E P&L with Trucost and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report found that if the company has to pay for the impacts of its GHG emissions and water use, it would have to shell out €94.4 million.

This week, Puma updated that figure to €145 million. At the launch, Jochen Zeitz, Executive Chairman of Puma and Chief Sustainability Officer of PPR said:

“The unprecedented Puma Environmental Profit and Loss Account has been indispensable for us to realize the immense value of nature’s services that are currently being taken for granted but without which companies could not sustain themselves.”

Some highlights of the report include:

  • 94 percent of impacts, roughly €137 million (about $185.5 million), come from the supply chain.
  •  57 percent of impacts, €57 million ($77 million), are related to production of raw materials, such as leather, cotton and rubber.
  • 6 percent, about €8 (almost $11 million), are from core operations by Puma, including offices, warehouses, stores and logistics. GHG emissions make up 90 percent of the impact from facilities.

The company has attached a dollar value to its greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and other impacts and compared that to the dollar value of the products it produces. Through their own admission, the company has said that it extracts more from the environment that it provides to consumers. The PPR group that owns Puma plans on releasing such a statement for all of its brands by 2015 – these include luxury names like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta, Volcom, Boucheron, Girard-Perrecaux and Sergio Rossi.

Puma took on a big challenge when it set out to measure the cost of its environmental impact, since there is no clear-cut way to actually price out the cost of pollution. One can focus on the cost of clean-up, or one can focus on the value of environmental services– but in either case there is a lot of guesswork and fuzzy math involved.  

However, Puma should be commended for starting the conversation because the accounting will only become more robust as other companies get on board. The reason why Puma is running ahead of the pack with its sustainability commitments is that it acknowledges, more can be done. In releasing the E P&L, the company makes a brave and forceful statement that business as usual is not holistic and definitely not sustainable.

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

5 responses

  1. E-Cycle Environmental supports this article and admires Puma for making their profit and loss statement public. We hope that everyone recognizes that Puma is taking a step in the right direction to better the environment.

  2. This is thrilling and very significant stuff. Puma needs to get the maximum amount of good publicity from this and I’ll certainly try to big them up on my modest sustainability blog.

    In terms of communicating the environmental impact of our purchasing choices to the public, the figure that states that 94% of Puma’s impact is in their supply chain is jaw dropping although long term sustainability campaigners always thought it would be much higher than many casual analysts would think.

    CSR led companies can and do tout energy savings they are making in house, say 10-20%, but the environmental shadows of products and services we buy dwarfs that effort, as these figures show.

    In order for CSR initiatives to generate meaningful change so that people’s purchasing decisions favour products with the least TOTAL impact, other companies must go down this road that Puma are trailblazing, so that the public, which doesn’t have time to examine the small print of CSR figures, automatically selects the most responsible greenest company’s products.

    We need to get supply chain impacts priced into the bottom line retail price of anything and Puma’s initiative is a major step towards that.

  3. Puma is providing critically important leadership here. Are they ready to share their methodology with others, with those in their supply chain so that smaller companies can begin to look at their “true costs”. Not from a regulatory perspective but simply from the perspective of “let’s start looking at the true costs of all that we do.”

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