Burberry Will Stop Burning Unsold Items

Fashion retailer, Burberry, has announced that it will no longer burn what it has dubbed “unsalable items”. It has also announced that it will stop using real fur in its products.

When it was revealed in July that during 2017 Burberry burned and destroyed over £28.6m worth of goods in order to prevent those unsold items from being sold more cheaply, there was an outcry.

Burberry defended this approach, saying that the energy captured from this incineration effort was then put to good use, making the process environmentally friendly. However, campaigners were unconvinced, saying that Burberry’s actions showed a “lack of respect” for the natural resources it was consuming and the environmental and carbon footprint created by this routine destruction of surplus stock.

They did, however, note that Burberry was not alone in this surplus destruction process, saying it is common practice in the fashion industry.

Now, however, Burberry has chosen to end its practice of burning unsold goods, with its Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti saying that the company has a responsibility to tackle this problem and bring its practices into line with the company’s ethos.

“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” Gobbetti said a press release. “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.”

In that same press release Burberry also said that it will no longer be producing new products with real fur and commits to “phase out” existing real fur products.

How Burberry is Addressing its Waste Problem

And there are definitely signs that Burberry means what it says.

The New York Times reports that the company said Thursday that, “it already reused, repaired, donated or recycled unsold products, but added that it would increase those efforts as part of a partnership with Make Fashion Circular, an initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that aims to prevent waste in the industry.”

The BBC notes that Burberry is also in partnership with sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to turn Burberry’s  annual 120 tonnes of leather off-cuts into new products. Burberry is also establishing its own research groups to look at other ways it can harness its materials to reduce waste and improve sustainability.

A New Definition of Luxury

All of this comes at a time when the fashion industry appears to be in flux.

For several years now the industry has resisted calls to abandon fur and to embrace sustainability. Traditionally, the high-end section of the industry has seen itself above such calls, but with the rise of online retailers, individual boutiques and brands like Brave Gentleman and Della who can generate boutique fashions geared at sustainability and cruelty free buyers, that has changed.

Essentially, luxury now needs to lift its own weight in terms of its wider impact on the world, or what are we paying all that money for?

As a result major fashion labels like Versace have said they are ditching fur, while major sports brands like Nike and Adidas —which, while not exactly luxury are certainly considered among the premium sportswear brands—are looking at ways they can eliminate plastics from their lines while recycling goods into their sportswear.

Greenpeace’s Kirsten Brodde told the Guardian that this is a “much-needed sign of a change of mind in the fashion industry” and that, “Because fashion is a high-volume business with more than 100bn garments produced each year, consumers’ closets are already overflowing with unworn clothes, creating an overstock problem for many companies.”

Brodde adds, “It’s high time for the whole fashion industry to start dealing with overstock at its source: by slowing down production and rethinking the way it does business.”

This begs the question: why aren’t brands like Dolce & Gabbana getting the memo that fur in fashion isn’t just ethically wrong, it’s bad business because it’s not what consumers want?

Take Action!

Sign the petition to Tell Dolce & Gabbana to abandon fur once and for all because no animal should need to die so that we can express ourselves through fashion.

And if you have an issue you care about, why not start a Care2 petition. It’s really easy, and the Care2 community has all kinds of resources to help you raise your voice about the things you care about.


Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Jetana A
Jetana A4 months ago

I'm glad they will stop. Both the burning and the use of real fur.

Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

Donating unsold items just seems like a no-brainer to anyone with a heart.

Loredana V
Loredana V6 months ago

OMG I didn't know they burn the unsold items ! Outrageous, a lot of people need clothes

Justin M
Justin M6 months ago


Shirley S
Shirley S6 months ago

Hasn't Burberry heard of CHARITY????

Camilla V
Camilla Vaga6 months ago


Debbi W
Debbi W6 months ago

I've never heard of such an idiot wasteful idea as burning items that didn't sell. Donate to charities, to churches to give donations away to the needy. Doesn't anyone in responsible positions actually _think_ any more?

Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Fantastic Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

All so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W6 months ago

Remove the fur and give to the poor Thank you for caring and sharing