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Mini Conference of the People: PUMA Oceania Hosts its First Conference to Amplify Gen Z Voices

November 21, 2022

Mini Conference of the People: PUMA Oceania Hosts its First Conference to Amplify Gen Z Voices

November 21, 2022

In September, PUMA hosted its Conference of the People, a global event to discuss solutions for a more sustainable fashion industry which put Gen Z at the center of the debate. Inspired by this idea, PUMA Oceania created a “Mini COP” in partnership with its retail partner Platypus. We spoke with Bridget Hanson, PUMA Australia’s Commercial Marketing Teamhead about the event. 

The mini COP, which was held as part of the 2022 Platypus Managers Conference, was designed to bring the voices of Gen Z together with the fashion industry to discuss more sustainable processes and practices in the region. 

Ahead of the COP in London, PUMA conducted research among young people ( 6,000 people aged 18-25), which revealed that while 94% of participants care about the environment, a quarter (26%) of those surveyed did not feel that there is a platform for their generation’s opinions regarding environmental sustainability. The mini COP was the perfect opportunity to help change this!

What inspired you to create the “mini COP”? Tell us more about the event. 

After tuning in late at night from Oceania to watch the inaugural Conference of the People in London, we were inspired to build a “mini COP” as a values-led approach to engaging key wholesaler Platypus at their recent managers conference. For over 250 Australian and New Zealand managers, we built a #PUMAxPlatyCOP in Melbourne!

The event kicked off with a short presentation by the local PUMA team on our goals, achievements and the future in this space. We also shared a personalised message from Stefan Seidel, the PUMA Senior Head of Corporate Sustainability. We then held a panel that was curated with talent to align with the global COP intent of connecting Generation Z with industry experts. 

We had a range of talent at the event that were on the panel. For example the CEO of ASGA (Australian Sporting Goods Association) was there; Shaun Bajada and the team behind our shoe recycling program in PUMA stores; Veronica Milsom, a local sustainability researcher, journalist and podcaster; Catherine Jia, a slow fashion creator; and Maggie Zhou, a Gen Z editor of one of the region’s most prolific youth publications.

What did you aim to achieve with the event?

We worked closely with the global sustainability team to build a compelling and informative session.

We had incredible support from Stefan Seidel, Karol Trejo (Senior Manager Corporate Sustainability), and Simon Hessel (Manager Corporate Strategy. We wanted to inform and inspire the entire room to own the role we all have in making our forever better.

What sort of topics did you cover in the “mini COP” and what were some of the biggest takeaways?

Given this was a much smaller scale event, and only ran for approximately 60 minutes, we focused our attention on circularity as a topic. This was a natural choice for us because we have just recently launched footwear recycling bins in all PUMA stores across Australia. The same facility also exists in Platypus stores nation-wide.

What were some of the highlights of the event? Any special guests?

We conducted a live poll with the team during the presentation that showed whilst people care about sustainability, they still feel they have lots to learn in this space and want brands to make this information more accessible.

After learning more about circularity and overconsumption, a number of managers either requested to cancel their PUMA seeding pair in a bid to act more responsibly, or to at least ask for the most sustainable options available.

We also received great feedback from Platypus, who said the team loved it!

Conference of the People

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