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PPR Announces Eco Initiative

French retail-to-luxury firm says the measures will revolutionize the way it does business.

PARIS — French retail-to-luxury firm PPR on Monday unveiled a new sustainability initiative that it says will revolutionize the way it does business by requiring the company’s brands to not only do less harm, but to generate social and environmental benefits in the long run.

PPR chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault and PPR chief sustainability officer Jochen Zeitz said the “PPR Home” plan will be endowed with an initial annual budget of 10 million euros, or $14.2 million at current exchange rates, whose evolution will be indexed to the firm’s dividends.

“PPR Home is our group’s contribution to a better world, by developing innovative and sustainable initiatives for our different economic models that rely on our creativity and our imagination in order to influence our lifestyles and inspire others to follow us in the long term,” Pinault told a news conference in Paris.

The project’s inaugural measures are:

• The launch of the Creative Sustainability Lab, a partnership with Cradle to Cradle that will focus on developing products and retail pilots that integrate and apply objectives such as environmental and social concerns for PPR’s luxury labels — including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga — and sporting goods firm Puma.

• The complete offset of the carbon dioxide emissions generated in 2010 by PPR’s luxury group, Puma and PPR’s headquarters, evaluated at 98,729 tons, through the purchase of carbon credits from San Francisco-based company Wildlife Works’ Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) offsetting project in Kenya. By comparison, PPR estimated its total CO2 emissions across all divisions in 2009 at 452,492 tons.

• Puma’s upcoming publication of what it claims is the world’s first environmental profit and loss (EP&L) account statement, as a first step toward measuring the full environmental impact of the activities of Puma and its suppliers.

Zeitz said PPR Home would employ some 15 people full time and consult with other experts. Its initiatives and investments will be evaluated according to a clear set of criteria, and it will publish its first targets and outcomes in October. These will integrate and expand upon the first targets published by PPR in June 2010 as part of its corporate social responsibility drive.

Puma will present its first EP&L statement in tandem with the publication of second quarter results on July 27. Zeitz said he expected they would initially tally carbon and water use, widening eventually to take into account social variables.

Zeitz, who heads PPR’s sport and lifestyle group and recently handed over the reins as ceo of Puma, said the activewear giant will launch a line in 2012 produced in conjunction with Wilderness Holdings Ltd., a company dedicated to eco-tourism and nature conservation in which Puma bought a 20.1 percent stake last year.