Why The Hell Did Burberry Destroy $50 Million Of Its Clothes?

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 1 year ago | News

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It turns out that fast fashion brands like H&M aren’t the only ones destroying clothes. In fact, major British maison Burberry has also been burning unsold clothes, according to reports. ABC writes, for example, that Burberry destroyed over AUD$50 million worth of clothes, accessories and perfume last year alone. Which means that the brand has burned more than $150 million worth of goods in the past five years. And that’s pretty disgraceful, considering the environmental ramifications of burning perfectly good clothes.

So why is Burberry burning excess stock in the first place? According to the brand, it is to protect against counterfeiting. But fashion sustainability groups simply aren’t buying it – arguing that we need to find better alternatives to destroying excess inventory. "It's not just Burberry, this practice is systemic in the fashion industry," says Melinda Tually from Fashion Revolution. Which only further underscores the fact that something needs to be done about the industry’s approach to its inventory problem.

Tually goes on to point out that Burberry actually has some good environmental initiatives in place within its supply chain. Which only really makes matter worse. Because, if even the environmentally motivated brands are resorting to burning stock, then we know we’ve really got a problem. It is simply not enough for brands to claim that they are ‘recapturing’ the energy generated from destroying stock, as Burberry has done in this case.

"On the occasions when disposal of products is necessary, we do so in a responsible manner and we continue to seek ways to reduce and revalue our waste," said a spokesperson from the brand. But a more viable solution would be to limit overproduction in the first place. And, if there is excess stock at the end of a season, to repurpose it for new collections, or sell online via consignment.

"Thirty per cent of what's produced doesn't even make it to the shop floors — that's pre-consumer waste,” Tually reiterates. "On top of that, Australia contributes half a million tonnes a year to landfill — 95 per cent of that doesn't need to be there, textiles can be recycled." So the only question becomes, then: why aren’t brands doing their part to make sure those textiles are being responsibly recycled, instead of simply destroyed?



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