Puma's environmental profit and loss (EP&L) statement has been hailed as a logical approach for companies to better understand and incorporate environmental issues in their business strategy by independent experts
Following the publication of its first EP&L in 2010, which calculated the value of the sportswear company’s environment impacts at €145 million, Puma asked a group of sustainability and business experts to evaluate its approach.
The 20-strong panel – which included Pushpam Kumar, chief economist at the UNEP’s ecosystems services division; Peter Bakker, president of the world business council for sustainable development; and Tom Beagent, assistant director for sustainability and climate change at PwC – concluded that the EP&L was “an excellent step in the right direction to promote the sustainable use of natural capital”.
The experts praised the EP&L for its ability to provide insight into the risks and opportunities posed by natural capital. They singled out for particular praise the way the EP&L identified and quantified environmental footprints, enabling Puma to communicate easily the firm’s impact on the environment to all its stakeholders, from investors to consumers.
However, the panel acknowledged that the level of complexity in the EP&L means that it is unlikely to be used by more companies unless a more accessible approach was created.
The EP&L method could be improved with the inclusion of more primary data, state the experts. They say this would help to reduce uncertainty as modelling techniques provide much of the information in the EP&L. They also recommend the inclusion of more data from secondary sources, such as life-cycle assessment databases.