Trucost News / 08 Oct 2012

New PUMA shoe and t-shirt impact the environment by a third less than conventional products

Trucost supported PUMA in extending the PUMA Product Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) Account to four selected footwear and apparel styles.

Did you know that 31 waste disposal trucks are needed to clear the waste that 100,000 pairs of conventional sneakers cause during the production process and consumer life until their owners throw them away and they end up in landfills or incinerators?

This is an insight gained from our first PUMA Product Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) Account for four selected footwear and apparel styles. We have started to extend the groundbreaking PUMA E P&L from 2010 to the product level and applied the analysis to two more sustainable and two conventional products: a pair of our soon to be launched biodegradable PUMA InCycle Basket shoes and a biodegradable cotton PUMA T-shirt versus a pair of the conventional retro PUMA Suede shoes and a conventional cotton PUMA T-shirt. This helps us to establish whether our efforts to become a more sustainable company and develop more sustainable products are in fact making a positive difference. This first-ever PUMA Environmental Profit and Loss Account for products is a big step forward on our mission journey to become the world’s most desirable and sustainable Sportlifestyle company.

What does the PUMA Product E P&L demonstrate?

The PUMA Product E P&L, which we developed with the support of PPR’s sustainability department PPR HOME as well as consulting firms Trucost and PwC, furthermore revealed that our new biodegradable PUMA shoe InCycle Basket and the biodegradable cotton T-shirt cause 31% less environmental impacts than their conventional counterparts. The analysis focussed on the environmental impacts caused by Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, waste and air pollution as well as the use of natural resources such as water and land along the entire value chain from the generation of raw materials and production processes to the consumer phase when our customers use, wash, dry, iron and finally dispose of the products.

Product lifecycle

More importantly, our PUMA Product E P&L cleverly values these environmental impacts and attaches a price tag of Euros and Cents. We do not expect our customers to absorb the costs of these impacts, but we believe it is necessary to make their extent clear for consumers.

By showing environmental costs in Euros and Cents, our new PUMA Product E P&L visualizes the environmental impacts PUMA products cause and makes comparing products in terms of sustainability easy for everyone. It therefore serves as a powerful assessment tool for comparing the sustainability of different products.

“Just as the calorie and nutrition information table on your cereal box helps you compare the dietary impacts of one breakfast choice to another, our new PUMA Product E P&L helps you to judge whether one shoe or shirt is more environmentally-friendly than another,” said PUMA’s Chairman Jochen Zeitz. “Our job is not only to lessen the impact our products have on the environment, but also to engage our customers and help them make better and more sustainable choices for the benefit of our planet.”

Dr. Richard Mattison, Chief Executive of Trucost said: “Environmental impacts traditionally have different units of measurement, making it difficult to compare the overall environmental impact of different products and this can be confusing for consumers. One product may have a high water impact, another may be more carbon intensive or cause more pollution. Measuring the environmental impact in Euros and Cents allows companies to create an overall metric for each product that takes into account many different environmental factors. The PUMA Product E P&L allows company managers to embed sustainability within everyday product design and procurement decisions and provides consumers with information on which products are better for the planet.”

The biodegradable PUMA InCycle vs. the conventional PUMA Suede

While the environmental impacts of the conventional PUMA Suede amount to €4.29 per pair, the environmental impacts of the biodegradable PUMA InCycle Basket are only €2.95 and therefore 31% lower.

Shoe level comparison

What makes the PUMA InCycle Basket so much more sustainable than the conventional PUMA Suede?

GREENHOUSE GAS: The production, usage and disposal of the PUMA InCycle Basket cause around 35% less environmental costs of GHG emissions than the conventional PUMA Suede. The main savings arise at the raw material production stage as the PUMA InCycle Basket’s upper is made of a mix of organic cotton and linen while the PUMA Suede is made of leather. GHG emissions associated with raising and slaughtering of cattle for the production of leather far exceed those related to cotton farming. The InCycle Basket has further GHG savings due to the use of organic cotton compared with conventional cotton, which is grown using synthetic fertilisers (GHG emissions arise during the manufacturing and usage of synthetic fertilisers). At the end of its life, the PUMA InCycle Basket is 100% compostable while the traditional PUMA Suede will likely be disposed of in landfills or incinerated, furthering its environmental footprint. Composting has the lowest GHG emissions in the end-of-life treatment of products.

WATER: The water consumed during the production, usage and disposal of the PUMA InCycle Basket has an environmental cost that is 21% less than the PUMA Suede’s. This is primarily due to the water consumed during the tanning of leather which exceeds that consumed during cotton fabric production (yarn production, weaving and finishing). The PUMA InCycle Basket does, however, have a higher water cost during the raw material phase where organic cotton farming is more water intensive than cattle ranching.

WASTE: The PUMA InCycle Basket creates approximately only one third of the environmental cost of waste that the PUMA Suede generates, with the main savings coming in at the raw material production and processing stages. Waste generation from the production and processing of leather is more intensive than that of cotton. Another waste-saving benefit of the PUMA InCycle Basket obviously comes at the end of its life as it is 100% compostable and therefore no environmental costs arise here as long as the product is not disposed of in landfill or incinerated. Only one third, or in other words, 12 waste disposal trucks are needed to clear the waste that 100,000 pairs of biodegradable PUMA InCycle Baskets cause until they end up in an industrial composting facility system – rather than the 31 trucks required for disposing of the waste of a conventional sneaker.

AIR POLLUTION: The PUMA Suede, however, causes 14% less environmental cost of air pollution than the PUMA InCycle Basket. The energy required for leather production is lower than the energy required for cotton fabric production such as yarn production, weaving and finishing.

LAND USE: In terms of environmental damages caused through land use, the PUMA InCycle offers an enormous benefit as its impact is less than 20% of the PUMA Suede’s. Far more agricultural land area is required for the production of leather, in particular related to the cattle farming, for the PUMA Suede than for the production of cotton used in the PUMA InCycle Basket. If land is being converted for agricultural services, loss of biodiversity and other natural services is caused. Those natural areas rich with biodiversity provide essential services to society which regulate our environment, provide goods and services that support livelihoods, offer opportunities for recreation, and provide cultural and spiritual enrichment.

“The results of the PUMA Product E P&L dramatically demonstrate that we have to steadily increase the share of sustainable materials in our collections so that we mitigate not only PUMA’s but also our consumers’ environmental footprint,” added Zeitz. “For this reason, I also call upon governments to start supporting companies to use more sustainable materials in their products instead of continuing with antiquated incentives, such as import duties on synthetic materials that are in principle much higher compared with those placed on leather goods regardless of the environmental footprint. Governments have a unique opportunity to incentivize corporations so that they can accelerate their evolution to a more sustainable economy through more sustainable practices and products.”  As an example, if we switched our key suede footwear styles from being made of leather to being made from a high-end and sustainable recycled material, PUMA would face additional costs of at least €3.4 million in duty rates per year.

Alan McGill, Partner, PwC said: “By putting a value on even one product’s environmental impacts, it brings into sharp focus the debates over commodity pricing, natural resource security and supply. Even as an emerging methodology, it challenges conventional business thinking – and consumers’ views – on how we measure and monitor the embedded environmental value and impacts of what we buy.”

The biodegradable PUMA InCycle Cotton Shirt vs. the conventional PUMA Cotton Shirt

The environmental costs for the conventional PUMA cotton shirt (€ 3.42) are 31% higher than those for the biodegradable PUMA InCycle shirt (€ 2.36).

Tshirt level comparison

What makes the PUMA InCycle Cotton T-Shirt so much more sustainable than the conventional PUMA Cotton T-Shirt?

GREENHOUSE GAS: The PUMA InCycle T-shirt generates 33% less environmental cost of GHG emissions due to the use of organic cotton compared with the conventional shirt made of conventional cotton. Conventional cotton is grown using synthetic fertilisers and GHG arise during the manufacturing and usage of synthetic fertilisers. GHG savings also occur at the end-of-life because the InCycle shirt is 100% compostable while the conventional shirt will likely end up in either a landfill or an incinerator.

WATER: The PUMA InCycle T-shirt produces a 2%-higher water cost which is due to the fact that the water consumption associated with organic cotton farming in China has a higher value than water consumption associated with conventional cotton farming in Australia, where this shirt’s cotton is sourced from. The main reason for this is that Australia has a comparatively lower water valuation of €0.16 per m3.

WASTE: The PUMA InCycle T-shirt causes 36% less environmental cost from waste than the conventional T-shirt because it is wrapped in more sustainable packaging. Furthermore, it has not been dyed but comes in natural colours, which eliminates waste during the dyeing process such as packaging and chemical residues.

AIR POLLUTION: The PUMA InCycle T-shirt causes 30% less environmental cost of air pollution than its conventional counterpart due to its more sustainable packaging. The production of sustainable packaging needs less energy than the manufacturing of conventional packaging, thus causing less air pollution. In addition, the product has not been dyed and therefore generates less air pollution associated with the production of dyes.

LAND USE: The PUMA InCycle Shirt has 70% lower environmental cost of land use compared to the conventional shirt as the InCycle shirt sources its cotton from lower value land. Land use valuation is affected by a range of factors, including the country of origin of the cotton. For any products the choice of sourcing country drives the E P&L value as it influences the types of ecosystems affected.

Our PUMA Product E P&L also delivered a few valuable findings of a more sustainable consumer lifestyle when doing your laundry that we would like to share with you:

Mitigate your own footprint


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