“We have decided that sustainability is a mega-trend,” says chief executive Franz Coch. Ya don’t say! “We want to contribute to a better world. At the same time, we also want to carve out our competitive advantage.” The company also has goals to invest more money in cleaning up its air pollution, waste, greenhouse gases, land and water use.
The new collection of 22 items will be available for sale in 2013, and includes products such as biodegradable shirts and sneakers and recyclable backpacks and track jackets. Products can be returned to stores for processing once they’ve run their wearable course.
However, “You can’t just dispose of it in the garden at home, dig a hole and hope that a tree is going to come out,” Koch said about the products. For example, in a biodegradable sneaker the sole would be made of biodegradable plastic and the upper made of organic cotton and linen. After it’s shredded, it could turn into compost in just six to nine months.
The company is also starting to rate the environmental impact of individual products. A biodegradable t-shirt would cost about 2.36 euros in greenhouse gases, water, air pollution, waste, and land use. Conventional t-shirts run around 3.42 euros each. This idea was inspired by a study last year that estimated the company caused 145 million euros in damage to nature in 2010.
If anything, I think this kind of brand transparency will be a hit and will make customers more aware of the impact on the products they purchase. I like the idea of an environmental rating for products – kind of like how fast food restaurants have the calories listed on their menus now. Do you think it will catch on? Would you use a biodegradable pair of running shoes?
Image CC licensed by David Shankbone: Puma store