LONDON—Britain’s Burberry will no longer burn millions of pounds worth of unsold luxury goods or use real fur in its collections following a furor over it environmental record.

It admitted in July to destroying 28.6 million pounds ($37 million) of unwanted items in a single year to prevent them being sold at below market prices and devaluing the brand.

This cast a light on waste in the fashion industry—both luxury and mass market—just a few months after the owner of Cartier and Montblanc admitted to having to buy back their own watches from dealers to prevent overstocking.

Burberry also said on Thursday it would follow the likes of Versace, Gucci and the trailblazer for ethical fashion, Stella McCartney, in removing real fur such as rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic raccoon from its ranges.

French Actress Melanie Laurent attending the Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2014 Fashion Show at London Fashion Week at Perks Field, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 on February 17,2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss /Invision/AP)

The fashion industry is under pressure from consumers and environmental organizations to make itself more sustainable and many retailers have been called out in recent years for destroying unsold stock, including by slashing or punching holes in garments before throwing them out.

In the watch market, Richemont, owner of the luxury brands, said they would buy back unsold stock from dealers and would not move them to other markets. Instead it planned to recycle the precious metals and stones that were in the high-end pieces.

A model walks the runway at the Burberry show during London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016/17 at Kensington Gardens on Feb. 22 in London. (John Phillips/Getty Images)

Burberry, whose coats sell for more than 2,500 pounds ($3,234) and handbags retail at around 1,500 pounds, said it would expand efforts to reuse, repair, donate or recycle its products and work to develop new sustainable materials.

PETA, the campaign group for the ethical treatment of animals, welcomed Burberry’s move to stop using fur, which the fashion house’s chief executive said was part of bigger shift and PETA said was a sign of the times.

“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” Marco Gobbetti, who is in the process of repositioning the label to be more upmarket, said.

Transformation

In the financial year to end March, Burberry said it physically destroyed 28.6 million pounds worth of finished goods, up from 26.9 million pounds the previous year, including 10 million pounds worth of beauty products such as perfume.

Burberry said it is now working with the sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to transform 120 tonnes of leather offcuts into new products over the next five years.

Spring at the Burberry Prorsum show at London Fashion Week SS14 at Kensington Gardens on September 16, 2013 in London, England. (Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

“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.”

Gobbetti is hoping new designer Riccardo Tisci, the former Givenchy star who designed costumes for Beyonce and Madonna, can transform the quintessentially British fashion house.

Campaign group Humane Society International said animal charities would unite during this year’s major fashion shows to call on Italian brand Prada <1913.HK> to follow Burberry’s lead on ending the use of real fur in its collections.

“The few fashion houses refusing to modernize and listen to the overwhelming public opinion against fur are now sticking out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons,” PETA’s director of international programs, Mimi Bekhechi said.

The head of the International Fur Federation, Mark Oaten, said substituting natural fur with “plastic petroleum-based materials, like fake fur” was neither luxury nor responsible.

Share

Video Popular

  • Celebrating Arbor Day With Books

    Celebrating Arbor Day With Books

    Trees were once considered sacred and awe-inspiring: Oaks were worshiped by the European Druids, redwoods were a part of American Indian ritual, and baobabs a part of African tribal life. Ancient Chin ...

  • Sharks Eat Their Greens, Too—First Omnivorous Species Confirmed

    Sharks Eat Their Greens, Too—First Omnivorous Species Confirmed

    Not all sharks feed only on meat—at least one shark species also feeds on seagrass. Scientists have confirmed that one of the most common sharks in the world is an omnivore. The bonnethead shark, a re ...

  • Microsoft Flags Dangers to EU of Plans to Limit Data Use

    Microsoft Flags Dangers to EU of Plans to Limit Data Use

    Microsoft said on Sept. 5, that EU lawmakers’ copyright reforms limiting the use of potentially valuable data to non-profit bodies could damage the European Union’s digital development. Co ...

  • How Setting a Schedule Can Make You Less Productive

    How Setting a Schedule Can Make You Less Productive

    It can seem like there’s never enough time—not enough for sleep and not enough for play, not enough for cooking. and not enough for exercise. There’s a relatively new term to describe this feeling: ti ...

  • RiNo, Denver: America’s Best Place for a Bar Crawl?

    RiNo, Denver: America’s Best Place for a Bar Crawl?

    “RiNo reminds me of Williamsburg in 2004—just pretentious enough to be good, not yet pretentious enough to be annoying.” Kevin Burke is joking, of course. As the general manager of American Bonded—one ...

  • Respecting Teachers and Cherishing Virtue

    Respecting Teachers and Cherishing Virtue

    Respecting teachers and cherishing virtues are part of the traditional ethics practiced by the Chinese people. Teachers, who impart morality, knowledge, and values, teach people the proper ways to int ...

  • Home Ownership in Canada Declines, Reversing Long Upward Trend

    Home Ownership in Canada Declines, Reversing Long Upward Trend

    Home ownership in Canada fell for the first time in over 45 years, according to a Point2Homes study released this week. It had reached a record high of 69 percent in 2011, but as of 2016, it fell to 6 ...

  • Aretha Franklin Dresses, Hats to Go up for Auction

    Aretha Franklin Dresses, Hats to Go up for Auction

    NEW YORK—More than 30 dresses and accessories worn on stage by Aretha Franklin are going up for auction. The Queen of Soul died at age 76 in Detroit on Aug. 16. Julien’s Auctions says the items ...

  • 87 Elephants Found Slaughtered in Botswana, Africa

    87 Elephants Found Slaughtered in Botswana, Africa

    An alarming number of elephant carcasses have been discovered in aerial surveys across Botswana in what has been described as a “poaching frenzy.” Botswana was once known as a sanctuary fo ...

  • Yes, Marijuana Can Be Addictive

    Yes, Marijuana Can Be Addictive

    The business world is salivating at the potential $22.6 billion recreational marijuana market in Canada, with more new pot users expected after legalization on Oct. 17. But public-health officials wan ...

  • Google Races to Parry the Rise of Facebook in India

    Google Races to Parry the Rise of Facebook in India

    Google retains only a slight lead over Facebook in the competition for digital ad dollars in the crucial India market, sources familiar with the figures say, even though the search giant has been in t ...

  • Canada in Brief, Sept. 6-12

    Canada in Brief, Sept. 6-12

    Trudeau says he won’t use ‘tricks’ to ram through pipeline construction Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pouring cold water on Alberta’s suggestion that the federal government use legislation or a cou ...