Burberry’s CEO Marco Gobbetti announced that the luxury fashion brand will stop destroying finished products. The company had been widely criticized in July for the burning unsold products to protect their intellectual property.
Over the summer, reports came out that Burberry had burned goods worth more than £28 million ($36.68 million) in the previous 12 months, and more than £90 million ($117.89 million) over the last five years. Environmentalists, politicians, and even the company’s own shareholders slammed the practice.
Now the company is changing its policy. Burberry released a statement on September 6 saying that it will stop destroying unsaleable products, effective immediately.
“This commitment builds on the goals that we set last year as part of our five-year responsibility agenda and is supported by our new strategy, which is helping tackle the causes of waste,” the company’s statement read. “We already reuse, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products and we will continue to expand these efforts.”
The company highlighted a new partnership with the sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to turn 120 metric ton of leather offcuts into new products over the next five years. This year Burberry also became a core partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative along with Gap, H&M, HSBC, Nike, and Stella McCartney.
One analyst told Reuters that the latest announcement from Burberry could put pressure on other luxury brands to be more transparent in their policies for dealing with unsold products.
In addition, Burberry announced it will stop using real fur. “There will be no real fur in Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection for Burberry later this month, and we will phase out existing real fur products,” according to the luxury brand.
As Bloomberg’s Lucca De Paoli and Robert Williams pointed out, the company is following companies like Gucci, Net-a-Porter, and Versace in dropping fur. “While the material is treasured by many designers, it’s become a symbol of fashion excess and animal cruelty,” they wrote.
“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” CEO Marco Gobbetti commented. “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.”