Over five years £105 million worth of unwanted stock has been destroyed by the upmarket British label.
Burberry destroyed £28.6 million worth of clothes and cosmetics last year alone in an effort to protect its upmarket brand and guard itself against counterfeiting.
The fashion label has been ensuring its brand exclusivity after it went through a phase of counterfeits.
After learning from past mistakes, Burberry now understands how vital it is to protect its premium positioning, otherwise, as a result, its exclusive brand could lose value and quickly deteriorate.
Many believe that surely something more socially responsible could have been done with the clothing, rather than destroying the stock in such an un-environmentally friendly way.
However, retailers say that the measure is necessary to protect intellectual property and avoid illegal counterfeiting by guaranteeing the supply chain remains intact.
“Destroying unwanted products is part of that process – the reason they are doing this is so that the market is not flooded with discounts. They don’t want Burberry products to get into the hands of anyone who can sell them at a discount and devalue the brand,” said Maria Malone, principal lecturer on the fashion business at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Burberry said that the energy generated from burning its products was captured, making it environmentally friendly.
Moreover, items were only destroyed that carried its trademark and Burberry only worked with specialist companies which can harness the energy from the process.
However, unsurprisingly, environmental campaigners are still angry about the waste.
“Despite their high prices, Burberry shows no respect for their own products and the hard work and natural resources that are used to made them,” argued Lu Yen Roloff of Greenpeace.
“The growing amount of overstock points to overproduction, and instead of slowing down their production, they incinerate perfectly good clothes and products.
“It’s a dirty secret of the fashion industry. Burberry is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
At present, this isn’t the only fashion label to have burned stock in order to protect itself and prevent its products being sold cheaply or stolen.
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