Puma’s ‘Forever Better’ Strategy Sees Increase In Recycled Materials – Sourcing Journal

Puma‘s 148-page 2022 sustainability report illustrates how the athleticwear company is using more non-virgin inputs.

The German giant said it made seven out of 10 products from “better materials” last year as it scaled up the use of recycled materials. However, this excludes products produced by Puma Group company Stichd. The brand said it’s on track to reach its goal of making nine out of 10 products with better materials by 2025.

These better materials include sustainably sourced cotton and viscose, which have a lower carbon footprint. In 2022, Puma used 70.4 percent more sustainable polyester, including 48 percent recycled. It used 99.8 percent more sustainable cotton (mainly from the Better Cotton Initiative) and 100 percent leather from Leather Working Group-rated tanneries. Since 2017, Puma has reduced its carbon emissions from materials by 32 percent.

“Our Forever Better strategy aims to make Puma better across the entire value chain, whether it comes to materials, carbon emissions, circularity or human rights,” Anne-Laure Descours, chief sourcing officer at Puma, said. “We know there is still a lot of work to be done, but we are encouraged by the progress we made last year.”

That progress included continuing to source 100 percent renewable electricity for its offices, stores and warehouses, with either renewable energy tariffs or attribute certificates, contributing to Puma’s 86 percent lower carbon emissions than its 2017 baseline. Its suppliers also increased their usage of renewable energy in the supply chain—where most of Puma’s carbon emissions originate—with its core suppliers (80 percent of Puma’s production volume) doubling their renewable energy consumption in one year. By 2025, the Rihanna collaborator wants to double this figure, again, getting those core suppliers to source a quarter of their energy needs from renewable sources. 

new balance

In circularity, Puma expanded upon its 2021 Puma Circular Lab initiative with its first project, Re:Suede, launching in 2022 with a first batch of 500 pairs. The chrome-free Zeology leather shoes were worn for six months by participants and sent back to Puma, with over 400 pairs sent to an industrial composting facility in the Netherlands. A life cycle assessment (LCA) found that the Re:Suede sneaker had a smaller carbon footprint (24.7 percent lower, excluding biogenic carbon) than conventional suede.

In apparel, Puma developed a textile-to-textile recycling opportunity with partners in Europe dubbed Re:Jersey. To communicate the brand’s use of recycled materials, Puma launched Re:Collection in 2022, made with recycled cotton (up 3 percent since 2020) and recycled polyester (up 34 percent since 2020).

To demonstrate its responsibility as a producer and to secure options for more circular material streams in the future, Puma set a target to join or offer takeback schemes in all its major markets by 2025. Last year, its footwear takeback program was introduced in Australia, complementing existing pilot schemes in Hong Kong, the United States and the participant clubs of the Re:Fibre project.    

“We are convinced that many challenges we are facing today are systemic and need to be tackled at an industry level,” Descours said in the report. “There’s only one forever—let’s make it better.”

Footwear, celebrity