Burberry to stop burning unsold items

Getty Images  AFP  BEN STANSALL

Burberry also announced they would stop selling any product with real animal fur and would phase out existing fur products.

Burberry is not the only brand known to have destroyed unsold products, which retailers have described as a measure to protect intellectual property and prevent illegal counterfeiting. In effect, it was once again seeking to preserve its brand.

Burberry faced criticism from environmental activists back in July when an earnings report showed it had destroyed almost $37 million worth of clothing and perfume in 2017.

Top-end fashion brands have long preferred to burn some unsold items or bury them in landfill rather than risk their labels being spotted in discount store bins.

Still, the case prompted fresh scrutiny of such practices.

Earlier this year Respect for Animals launched a campaign urging supporters and members of the public to write to Burberry urging the company to drop fur from its range.

The British Fashion Council (BFC) have announced the shows taking place this month will not feature garments made from animal skins after carrying out a survey asking designers if they were planning to use fur in their presentations.

Burberry defended their actions, claiming it is an industry wide practice.

"Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible", Marco Gobbetti, who is in the process of repositioning the label to be more upmarket, said.

Burberry has grappled with issues around its brand image before.

Gobbetti, a veteran of the luxury industry, became chief executive past year, and has since unveiled an ambitious plan to overhaul company practices and take the business more upmarket.

It added that there would be no real fur in Riccardo Tisci's debut collection revealed later in September.

Burberry had originally outlined a five-year "responsibility agenda" in 2017.

However, the company now says it will reuse, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products.

Last year, the Burberry Foundation - set up as an independent charity by the firm in 2008 - awarded £3m to the Royal College of Art to establish the Burberry Material Futures Research Group - the first of its kind in the world according to Burberry - and expand the Burberry Design Scholarship Fund. Environmental advocates responded angrily to the news.

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