Puma steps up game with Cradle to Cradle certification

Puma has been on a steady path to greater sustainability for years, but it just took a major stride forward by designing a new product line that earned it bragging rights with a prestigious certification.  

The international sports lifestyle company recently was awarded the Cradle to Cradle product certification at the "basic" entry level from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The fruit of Puma's labor toward that certification will be on display with this month's launch of InCycle, its first collection of footwear, clothing and accessories that are completely biodegradable or recyclable.

Designing products with materials that never end up in a landfill is among the basic closed-loop principles that underlies the well-known Cradle to Cradle philosophy. The certification program is a rating system that measures products against rigorous standards for material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness.

Since 1996, the Cradle to Cradle organization has awarded about 500 certifications to some 120 companies, says Bridgett Luther, president of the San Francisco-based institute, which was created in May 2010. Companies must recertify every two years and demonstrate they're working on improvements that will move them to the next level of certification

Since its formation, the institute has issued certificates to 69 product groups from 40 different brands covering hundreds of individual products. Eight PUMA product groups have achieved certification, covering dozens of individual product variations. Other companies certified to date include Method, Aveda, Steelcase and Herman Miller.

Meeting the institute's certification criteria was not easy and took about a year from start to finish, says Justin DeKoszmovszky, PumaVision global strategy and program manager based in Germany.

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