Puma invites young environmentalists to critique its sustainability strategy
Sportswear brand Puma has announced plans to give young environmentalists ‘a seat at the table’ in the development and implementation of its sustainability strategy.
Under the new initiative, called Voices of a RE:GENERATION, Puma is inviting four environmental activists in their 20s to provide their input on how the brand should approach key environmental and social topics.
The four will be invited in to a series of meetings with Puma staff over a one-year period and will be treated as “candid consultants” of its current sustainability strategy and programmes. Staff specializing in sourcing and sustainability will be present in the meeting.
Among those selected to participate are UK-based documentary maker Alice Aedy, who co-founded the Earthrise Studio media platform, and France-based creative consultant Jade Roche.
Rounding out the cohort of four are Germany-based sustainable lifestyle vlogger Luke Jaque-Rodney and US-based Andrew Burgess, also known as Wandy the Maker for his upcycled fashion brand.
Burgess said: “Sustainability can’t be one-sided. You can’t have one brand calling the shots, especially when you have consumers worldwide interacting with your products. I’m looking forward to delving deep into Puma’s efforts and sharing my take on how they can improve. It’s time our generation had a seat at the table”.
Conference of the people
Puma has not yet confirmed whether it will extend the initiative beyond a year, or invite new people to participate. However, the launch of the initiative followed on from an event it hosted in London last autumn, called the ‘Conference of the People’. At this event, Puma staff were allocated speaking slots to discuss environmental innovation, but much of the agenda was dedicated to hearing from those working to push fashion brands to improve their practices.
A survey of Gen Z attendees of this event revealed that 71% feel their voices are not being heard when it comes to the environmental impact of businesses.
Puma’s chief sourcing office Anne-Laure Descours said: “We’ve always documented our progress in sustainable practices. However our participation in Conference of the People has shed light on the fact that the information we share isn’t always easily understood by the next generation. We recognise the need for change, and we’re committed to making sustainability more accessible and transparent to everyone. Voices of a RE:GENERATION is our first step in improving this.”
Fashion sustainability ranking platform Good on You has given Puma a ranking of ‘it’s a start’ – the middle option of its five possible options. It has praised the brand for setting science-based targets to reduce emissions and for making efforts to improve climate-related disclosures, but stated that it needs to provide more information on worker rights in the supply chain, plus its efforts to tackle waste and phase-out toxic chemicals.
Related feature: Clover Hogan on how businesses can prevent ‘climate quitting’
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