Over the past year, the brand has come under fire from anti-fur protestors who staged screechingly loud and aggressive protests outside its runway shows. The company also became the target of criticism in the British press for its decision to destroy new, but unsalable, merchandise each year.
“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” said Marco Gobbetti, Burberry’s chief executive officer. “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.”
With regard to the unsalable merchandise, Burberry came under fire at its latest annual general meeting in July for its practice of destroying unsalable clothing.
Burberry and other luxury brands have long been fearful of unsold or unusable merchandise leaking into the gray market or into the hands of counterfeiters, hence the practice of burning clothing. Shareholders at the meeting asked why they couldn’t just buy the clothing at discounted rates.
Burberry said its decision to cease destruction builds on the goals it set last year as part of its five-year responsibility agenda and its commitment to help tackle the causes of waste. “We already reuse, repair, donate or recycle unsalable products and we will continue to expand these efforts,” the company said on Thursday.
As reported, Burberry has inked a deal with accessories company Elvis & Kresse to transform 120 tons of leather offcuts into new products over the next five years.
The Burberry Foundation, a charity, has established the Burberry Material Futures Research Group with the Royal College of Art to invent new sustainable materials, and is looking at ways of developing a more inclusive and sustainable cashmere industry in Afghanistan.
The efforts have been recognized by Burberry’s inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the third consecutive year.
This story was reported by WWD and originally appeared on WWD.com.