In their 2017-2018 financial report, Burberry admitted to burning through $44 million worth of surplus fashion and cosmetics to ward off counterfeits. To say the least it's shocking for such a well-known, sophisticated global company to be managing the supply chain by burning stock.
Understandably, the public is not pleased. Incinerating high-end goods most people would kill to own was bound to look like an obscene bonfire of vanity.
According to reports it has even riled shareholders, with at least one upset they weren’t given the opportunity to buy up the stock first. Yet Burberry insist on burning their stock to prevent damage to their luxury image. But what kind of luxury should we be encouraging as a generation: excess or generosity?
According to Stella McCartney, only 1% of clothing is recycled, yet Burberry continues to burn and defend its position despite their position as a core brand committed to Making Fashion Circular. This industry initiative, driven by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, strives to make designs and materials reusable to benefit business, society and the environment.
Burberry’s burning habits are clearly not in line with such an ideal.
At the end of the day, it comes down to responsibility. Burberry are living in the consumerist past driven by wealth and a see-now, buy-now attitude. It’s time they stepped up and redefined what it means to be a luxury brand who care more about the environment and people, than their own pockets.