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Burberry says it will no longer destroy unsold products

Luxury goods maker Burberry Group PLC on Sept. 6 said it would halt the practice of destroying unsaleable products with immediate effect.

The announcement comes after the British company in July attracted ire from environmentalists and shareholders, among others, when it acknowledged that it had burned £28.6 million worth of merchandise in the previous year.

In addition, Burberry said it would no longer use real fur. There will be no real fur in the debut collection of Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci later in September, it said, and existing real fur products will be phased out.

The practice of destroying unsold goods is believed to be commonplace in the luxury industry as companies look to protect intellectual property and guard against counterfeiting.

In a statement, Burberry said the policy shift was part of its five-year responsibility agenda and was supported by a new strategy, which is aimed at tackling the causes of waste. "We already reuse, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products and we will continue to expand these efforts," the company said.

Burberry, best known for its plaid patterns and trenchcoats, touted its environmental and social credentials, including a partnership with sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to transform 120 metric tons of leather offcuts into new products over the next five years and its support in establishing the Burberry Material Futures Research Group with the Royal College of Art to invent new sustainable materials.

Burberry, under the leadership of CEO Marco Gobbetti, who joined the London-based fashion brand in July 2017, is looking to give itself a makeover. In November 2017 it announced that it would seek to reposition itself in the luxury category, where it expects to generate more attractive profit margins.

"Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible," Gobbetti was quoted as saying. "This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products."