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Puma's short pounce forward

Good to see Puma is making some moves to address its environmental and social footprint, but I still see some gaps in their system.

For one, employing big accounting firms to run your corporate social responsibility program might sound impressive, but my experience is that they are not always the best options. Such firms are generally very adept at knowing what they can get away with and in a context where legislation doesnt really exist - as is the case with big corporations using off-shore supply lines - it's often more a case of what can be got away with; a very minimalist approach.

Second, it is concerning that the company still hasnt set up systems to ensure its social impact is even being assessed, let alone decreased. As the article suggests, this is still to be established.

In today's world, this should already have been done long ago.

For the Kick Project, it is important that we are closely examining the social profile of those with whom we work, as partners and donors. Clearly, in working for the benefit of kids, we cant take advantage of kids working in slave-like conditions.

Football equipment, especially balls, is largely made in a place called Sialkot, Pakistan where, until fairly recently, and child labour was rife (its likely pockets of child labour still remain there). While the football community can be congratulated for more or less stamping out this industry, it has been remiss in not following through and establishing alternative education opportunities for the kids and income replacement for the families.

For instance, rather than stitching soccer balls, local kids have simply shifted to other less responsible industries in the same region, such as brickworks and metalworks.

A barely noticeable dip in profits for massive sports goods companies, such as Puma, Nike and Adidas, could have funded facilities and infrastructure to help local communities deal with the changes in their livelihoods.

It's the least could do for exploiting the region's communities for decades.

So, kudos to Puma, but our advice is don't stop there. The journey to sustainability for the football industry is still making baby steps.


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