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Burberry ends destruction of unsaleable products and bans use of real fur

Lauretta Roberts
06 September 2018

British luxury house Burberry has announced that it will no longer destroy unsaleable products and will discontinue the use of real fur in its collections.

In a statement this morning CEO Marco Gobbetti said modern luxury meant "being socially and environmentally responsible". "This belief is core to us as Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all of Burberry as we do to our products," he added.

The move comes following adverse publicity earlier this year when it was revealed in its annual report that Burberry had destroyed by fire £28.6m worth of unsold clothing, accessories and perfume in the past financial year. Despite claims that this had been carried out in an environmentally friendly fashion with the energy from the fire captured, the revelation caused an outcry due to the waste.

In the future Burberry has said it will reuse, repair, recycle and donate unsold product. It has already been doing this for some products and will extend the initiative. The business said the move was part of its five-year responsibility agenda, which it launched in 2017 to drive positive change through 100% of Burberry’s products, become carbon neutral and revalue waste, and positively impact one million people.

This year Burberry became a core partner of the Make Fashion Circular Initiative convened by the Ellen McArthur Foundation. It has also partnered with sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to transform 120 tonnes of leather offcuts into new products over the next five years. In addition it has supported the Burberry Foundation in establishing the Burberry Material Futures Research Group with the Royal College of Art to invent new sustainable materials.

The company has also bowed to pressure and revealed that it will also be discontinuing the use of real fur in its collections, joining a growing band of luxury brands to do the same such as Gucci, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, John Galliano and Versace.

It had already stopped showing fur on its catwalks but it had used a limited number of real furs in its collections sold in stores such as rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic racoon. These furs will now no longer be used, along with angora.

Wendy Higgins of Humane Society International welcomed the move and said the organisation had been pressuring Burberry for a decade. “HSI first met with Burberry almost a decade ago to urge the brand to drop fur, so we are delighted that this iconic British fashion giant is finally going fur-free. Most British consumers don’t want anything to do with the cruelty of fur and so this is absolutely the right decision by this quintessentially British brand. And as fashion week kicks off today in New York, Burberry’s compassionate stance couldn't have come at a better time, sending a strong message to designers like Prada still using fur who are looking more and more isolated and outdated by the day," she said.

"Countless investigations have revealed appalling welfare issues on fur farms including obesity, deformed feet, diseased eyes and even missing limbs. Burberry is very wise to be ending its association with fur and it joins the ranks of an ever increasing number of top designers like Gucci, Michael Kors, DKNY and Versace, who have also realised that real fur has no future in fashion," Higgins added.

Burberry's new chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci will be unveiling his first collection for the brand at London Fashion Week this month. This latest move comes after Tisci and Gobbetti shook up Burberry's delivery schedules in favour of regular, monthly drops of new products as opposed to operating around distinct seasons. Tisci has also rebranded the business and introduced a new monogram to be used alongside its iconic house check.

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