Outrage after Burberry burns $50 million of unsold stock

Ciara Sheppard

Burberry burned $50 million (£28.6 million) worth of unsold stock last year.

The luxury brand has come under fire after deliberately destroying large quantities of clothing and beauty products thanks to over-production.

The practice is understood to be rife in the industry, as a means of preventing unwanted items falling into the hands of counterfeiters.

Luxury brand Burberry has come under fire for burning $50m worth of unsold stock last year. Source: Getty

With single items of clothing priced in their thousands, this equates to the equivalent of more than 20,000 of the brand’s signature trench coats, the Times notes. 

Despite the company insisting that the incineration procedure is done in a “responsible manner”, environmental charities have criticised the brand. 

Dr Kirsten Brodde, who leads the ‘Detox my Fashion’ campaign at the environmental group Greenpeace, told Sky News: “Despite their luxury price tag, Burberry shows no respect for its own products and the hard work and natural resources that are used to make them.

“The growing volumes of overstock point to overproduction, and instead of slowing down production, Burberry is incinerating perfectly new clothes and products.

The practice is understood to be rife in the industry, as a means of preventing unwanted items falling into the hands of counterfeiters. Source: Getty

“This is the fashion industry’s dirty secret, with Burberry just the tip of the iceberg.”

Brodde instead suggests “it is high time to step on the brakes, slow down the production of goods that are not even needed and rethink our obsession with economic growth.”

Mike Childs, from Friends of the Earth, told the publication: “Burning clothes is a shocking waste of resources, showing no regard for people in the UK who have to scour charity shops to put a shirt on their back, nor to the millions overseas living in poverty.

“Time and time again parts of the fashion industry is exposed as having little concern for the welfare of the planet or the poorest people on it. The industry has to come clean on its practices and clean up its act.”

Burberry is just one of many luxury brands who burns products.

Burberry burned $50 million (£28.6 million) in unwanted stock last year. Source: Getty

Just last year, high street giant H&M was accused of burning 12 tonnes of unsold garments per year (in spite of its sustainability efforts) after research by Danish tv-programme ‘Operation X’ was published. 

Burberry subsequently released a statement on the matter.

“Burberry has careful processes in place to minimise the amount of excess stock we produce,” a spokesperson for the brand said.

“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.

“This is a core part of our responsibility strategy to 2022 and we have forged partnerships and committed support to innovative organisations to help reach this goal.”

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