Major Decorated Global Apparel Brands - Sustainability from Suppliers
Some major decorated global apparel brands that have truly innovative supplier sustainability practices in place are PUMA and Nike. Below is an in-depth overview of each brand's supplier sustainability activities, goals, and policies.
PUMA Offers Its Suppliers a New Financing Program to Reward Them for Sustainable Performance
- In 2016, PUMA launched a first-of-its-kind financing structure in the apparel industry by teaming up with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) "to incentivize improvements to suppliers’ social, environmental and health and safety standards."
- The financing program requires the IFC to adopt a short-term working capital financial structure to offer lower costs for suppliers with a high PUMA Supplier Rating.
- The PUMA supplier rating is a ranking score awarded to suppliers through an audit process to determine how well the suppliers are adhering to the company's social and environmental standards.
- This financing program also allows PUMA suppliers to ride on PUMA's reputation and strong financial position to get funding.
- According to PUMA's chief operating officer, the program serves as a bonus or malus to reward suppliers' sustainability investments and incentivize them to improve their environmental and social standards.
PUMA Partners with High-Tech Sustainable Suppliers
- Puma has always sought out suppliers with innovative textile processing technology that improves sustainability.
- In 2017, with the help of "Covestro, a high-tech polymer materials supplier; and Trans Textil, a specialist in functional textile lamination, coating, transfer printing and special finishing," Puma developed the Accufoam technology to make football boots and bringing the water and energy consumption down by 95% and 50%, respectively. The process also reduced the carbon footprint by 44%.
PUMA Joins China's National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Supplier Sustainability Mapping Tool
- In 2018, China's NRDC, in a joint venture with the country's Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), launched the IPE Green Supply Chain Map to link global apparel brands to their suppliers' environmental and sustainability performance.
- The IPE database provides " real-time data and historical trends in air pollution emissions and wastewater discharge for nearly 15,000 major industrial facilities in China and access to environmental supervision records for over half a million more."
- PUMA was among the first six companies to feature on the new map and share lists of their suppliers so that the public and the brand's customers can assess the sustainability of PUMA's suppliers.
- According to Linda Greer, a senior health scientist at NRDC, the companies' willingness to feature on the inaugural IPE map demonstrates new levels of transparency and real leadership in supply chain responsibility.
PUMA Specific Sustainability Policies and Overall Goals
- According to the PUMA CEO, sustainability is the brand's key value and it is deeply integrated into their business to guide the company towards a more just and sustainable future.
- PUMA has ten sustainability targets they plan to hit in 2020, namely human rights, social compliance, stakeholder engagement, corporate governance, environmental P & L, Water & air, materials, chemicals, climate, and health & safety.
- These targets apply to PUMA and within the company's supply chain.
- PUMA enhances supply chain transparency by providing a list of their tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers on their website.
Nike Incentivizes Suppliers to Improve Sustainability Performance
- Nike uses a supplier assessment scorecard to assess the performance of suppliers in terms of quality, delivery, cost, and sustainability.
- The company also has tools that measure suppliers' "growth and potential in leadership, operations, innovation, product creation, and sustainability."
- Nike then uses the assessment information to inform its supplier strategy in the long-term and increase business with the best performing and most sustainable suppliers.
Nike Supports its Suppliers to Meet Sustainability Standards
- Nike assists their its suppliers to be more sustainable by providing them with multi-year sourcing forecasts and other resources to help them be more transparent and predictable.
- Nike also uses an anonymous rating initiative called Better Buying to collect feedback from suppliers on purchasing practices to help inform system and process improvements.
Nike Scales Capability Programs With Sustainable Suppliers Who Share in the Brand's Values
- Through programs such as Worker Engagement, Culture of Safety, and Environmental Minimum Programs, Nike builds supplier capabilities in environmental management, worker engagement, and human resources management to improve supplier sustainability.
- According to Nike, they only work with suppliers who share their commitment to making products responsibly and sustainable.
Nike Sustainability Policies
- Nike has in place stringent sustainability policies for its manufacturing suppliers to adhere to.
- The sustainable manufacturing policies include:
- the Code of Conduct where suppliers have to meet some compliance requirements and minimum standards including "hiring practices, wages, freedom of association and health and safety."
- the Code Leadership Standards show how suppliers should implement the code of conduct and also how to measure compliance with the code of conduct.
- the Manufacturing Restricted Substances List which is an industry tool that assists brands and their suppliers to control hazardous substances in the manufacturing process.
- The chemistry sustainable policies include:
- the Restricted Substances List (RSL) which contains the chemical standards materials that "meet or exceed regulatory or legislative requirements from around the world."
- ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines that "set out a unified expectation on wastewater quality for the entire textile and footwear industry."