Burberry pledges to stop burning its unsold goods

Fashion group changes policy following criticism of its environmental record

Fashion label Burberry will no longer burn millions of euros worth of unsold luxury goods or use real fur in its collections following a furore over it environmental record.

It admitted in July to destroying nearly £29 million (€32 million) of unwanted items in a single year to prevent them being sold at below market prices and devaluing the brand. This cast a light on waste in the fashion industry - both luxury and mass market - just a few months after the owner of Cartier and Montblanc admitted to having to buy back their own watches from dealers to prevent overstocking.

Burberry also said on Thursday it would follow the likes of Versace, Gucci and the trailblazer for ethical fashion, Stella McCartney, in removing real fur such as rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic racoon from its ranges. The fashion industry is under pressure from consumers and environmental organisations to make itself more sustainable and many retailers have been called out in recent years for destroying unsold stock, including by slashing or punching holes in garments before throwing them out.

In the watch market, Richemont, owner of the luxury brands, said they would buy back unsold stock from dealers and would not move them to other markets. Instead it planned to recycle the precious metals and stones that were in the high-end pieces. Burberry, whose coats sell for more than £2,500 and handbags retail at around £1,500, said it would expand efforts to reuse, repair, donate or recycle its products and work to develop new sustainable materials.


Peta, the campaign group for the ethical treatment of animals, welcomed Burberry's move to stop using fur, which the fashion house's chief executive said was part of bigger shift and Peta said was a sign of the times. "Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible," Marco Gobbetti, who is in the process of repositioning the label to be more upmarket, said. - Reuters