Assessing Puma’s Practices

Sustainability’s largest boost may happen as global companies sign on to environmentally friendly operations.  The sportswear company Puma is establishing sustainable practices that include having their 20 key suppliers in South East Asia and other regions issue their own sustainability reports starting in 2011.  Puma is also supporting conservation projects, albeit with some bumps along the way.

wearhousePuma’s supplier reporting guidelines align with the Global Reporting Initiative.  According to Puma this means that twenty strategic suppliers in its supply chain from China to Cambodia will be trained to report on sustainability concepts such as social and working conditions.  The project teaches participants how to measure sustainability by using key performance indicators, while becoming more transparent and learning how to report on energy consumption, waste production and other issues.

Puma, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), has also announced three major conservation projects in Africa as part of its ‘Play For Life’ Campaign, a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of species and habitat conservation.  ‘Play for Life’ has been inspired by the 2010 Soccer World Cup, explains Afrique Avenir.  The campaign promoted the international year of biodiversity through events, fundraising initiatives and public service announcements which culminated in the public choosing three beneficiaries for campaign donations through online voting.  Proceeds will be donated to help save endangered African lions in Zambia, elephant populations in the Ivory Coast and Liberia, and gorillas in Nigeria.

basarwa manHowever, Puma is not flawless in its conservation efforts, as evidenced by its 20% share holdings in Wilderness Safaris, a tourism company that has built a lodge on land belonging to the Bushmen of Botswana.  Afrique Avenir reports that Survival International recently urged Puma to separate from the company, which supports luxury tourism in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve while ignoring the inhumane treatment of the Bushmen who are not even allowed to access their own water.

Becoming a sustainable and conservation friendly sports lifestyle company is clearly a process of trial and error for Puma.  If at first they don’t succeed, let’s hope they learn from mistakes and try again!

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