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Burberry aims to be "climate positive" by 2040

Lauretta Roberts
10 June 2021

Burberry has announced an acceleration of its sustainability goals and has stated a new aim to be "climate positive" by 2040, making it the first luxury house to do so.

The British business said that the new aim goes further than its previous pledge to be "net zero" by 2040 and that it would be working to reduce emissions across its extended supply chain, slashing them by 46% (from a previous target of 30%) by 2030.

This means Burberry’s Science Based Targets will be aligned to the 1.5°C pathway set out in the Paris Agreement, the goal of which is to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5 °C.

Burberry has also pledged to invest in initiatives beyond its value chain "that support the world’s efforts to create a resilient, zero carbon future". These include:

  • Investing in programmes that protect and restore natural ecosystems that remove carbon from the atmosphere
  • Funding climate resilience projects that empower vulnerable, frontline communities to adapt to changing realities and protect livelihoods
  • Actively advocating for what it will take to transform the fashion industry, in partnership with NGOs, peers and policymakers

The Burberry Regeneration Fund was established in 2020 to support a portfolio of verified carbon offsetting and insetting projects, which enable Burberry to compensate and store carbon, promote biodiversity, facilitate the restoration of ecosystems and support the livelihoods of local communities.

For its inaugural insetting project, Burberry is partnering with PUR Projet to implement a regenerative agricultural programme with wool producers in Australia. The project works at farm level to improve carbon capture in soils, strengthen watershed and soil health and promote biodiverse habitats.

The company says it will also continue to "advocate for changemakers and support programmes transforming the fashion industry, in partnership with NGOs, peers and policymakers".

It has also revealed its support for the Fashion Avengers, a coalition of global fashion organisations that have come together to inspire action towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of this, Burberry is supporting the Forest for Change, a UN Global Goals installation created by British designer Es Devlin for the 2021 London Design Biennale. From 1 - 27 June 2021, the courtyard of Somerset House in London will be transformed into a forest, inviting visitors to discover the 17 UN Global Goals.

"Burberry was built upon a desire to explore nature and the great outdoors and they have remained our inspiration for more than 150 years. Drawing on this heritage of exploration and driven by our creative spirit, today, we are setting a bold new ambition: to become climate positive by 2040. As a company, we are united by our passion for being a force for good in the world. By strengthening our commitment to sustainability, we are going further in helping protect our planet for generations," said Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti.

Key achievements in Burberry's sustainability journey

  • Burberry is on track to meet its target to become carbon neutral across its own footprint by 2022, which it has achieved by reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency and switching to renewable electricity sources, before balancing any remaining emissions.
  • All of Burberry’s events, including shows and presentations, have been certified carbon neutral since 2019 and the company has successfully reduced its market-based emissions by 92% since 2016.
  • Burberry has Science Based Targets across its scope 1 and 2 emissions (in its own operations and indirect emissions from its energy use) and scope 3 emissions (across its extended supply chain).
  • Burberry is working with leading climate solutions provider South Pole to update its Science Based Targets and develop its roadmap to achieve net-zero by 2040.
  • Burberry currently sources 93% of its electricity from renewable sources, on track to achieve its target to use 100% renewable electricity in its own operations by 2022.
  • In the last year, Burberry has continued to promote the use of renewables in its supply chain by creating a bespoke renewable energy guide for its Italian suppliers.
  • It has worked with global supply chain partners to achieve facility-level positive attributes relating to energy and water reduction and renewable energy since 2017.
  • It also launched a new programme in partnership with the Apparel Impact Institute and industry partners to establish a platform for Italian manufacturers to coordinate, fund and scale environmental programmes with measurable impact.
  • Burberry is an active member of RE100 and has been recognised on the CDP’s A-List and Supplier Engagement Leaderboard for its success in stimulating demand for renewable energy throughout its global supply chain. Burberry has also been included in the 2020 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for six consecutive years, achieving its highest ever score in 2020.
  • As a signatory of the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, Burberry supports UN Climate Change's efforts in the fashion industry. In its role on the Manufacturing Energy Working Group, it developed online climate action training for the fashion industry supply chain.
  • In September 2020, Burberry was the first luxury brand to issue a sustainability bond, enlisting the support of investors to finance ambitious sustainability projects.
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