While almost every company in the world talks about “corporate social responsibility”, only very few companies really take another step. Puma on the other hand has announced that it is adopting one of CSR’s most radical ideas: the “triple bottom line”. While a normal, “single bottom line” only totals the financial profits and losses, the “triple bottom line” includes two other criteria: social impact and environmental footprint.
Following the “dean of CSR”
Puma is one of the first companies in the world (parent holding PPR proudly states “the very first one”) to adopt an “Environmental Profit and Loss” account to make its social and ecological actions visible in its financial accounts. Its aim to include not only numbers that matter to the stakeholders, but also those that matter to the workers and the planet closely resembles the “triple bottom line accounting” proposed by British CSR authority John Elkington in 1988. The “dean of the CSR movement” stated to be very pleased with Puma’s move towards social responsible action.
Extra debt: 94.4 million
In a first phase, Puma will include CO2-emissions (e.g. by cows used for leather production), the use of water (for cotton growth) and the damage done by chemicals; the three add up to a debt to the planet of 94.4 million euro in 2010. A second phase would include other environmental issues like waste disposal and use of land, but also social aspects like honest wages and working conditions. On the plus side of the “second and third bottom line”, Puma wants to include the creation of jobs and charity projects.
Encouraging other companies to join
For proponents of corporate social responsibility, this new system is a milestone: the ‘E P&L’ finally allows to assign a monetary value to the environmental impact of corporate decisions: a very important tool to convince shareholders and managers of the “good cause” using hard data. PPR hopes that other companies soon will follow its example: “Puma and PPR want to be a catalyst for others to join an industry-wide engagement. We hope that other companies too would integrate into their business models the true costs of their reliance on ecosystem services.” Jochen Zeitz, chairman of Puma, also states that “PPR will encourage and collaborate with the industry to adopt this tool”.
Ambitious goals for 2015
Apart from raising awareness and setting a good example, Puma’s goal for the next four years is reducing its use of energy, carbon and water by 25% and raising the proportion of sustainable packaging to 100%. The big cat will also address all its suppliers to help them in this quest.