Burberry on Thursday said that, effective immediately, it will no longer destroy products it can't sell, saying that it's stepping up existing efforts to reuse, repair, donate or recycle them instead. The company may still dispose of damaged, defective or expired beauty products where recycling is not an option due to regulatory statutes, or in "exceptional circumstances," the company said in a press release.
The upscale apparel brand also confirmed that it will no longer use real fur in its designs. Until now, Burberry's use of fur for many years was restricted to rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic raccoon, but those plus Angora hair are now banned at the company.
In its annual report released earlier this year, Burberry had reported that "the cost of finished goods physically destroyed in the year was £28.6 million," ($37.1 million at current conversion rates), up from last year's £26.9 million.
Burberry's business accounting of its destruction of the goods it couldn't sell prompted a backlash this summer, and an open letter from resale site ThredUp inviting the upscale brand to send the goods its way.
"The thing is, the world can't afford to waste perfectly good clothes anymore," ThredUp wrote in July. "Today we invite you to send any unsold Burberry product to thredUP for resale back into the circular economy, and we'll donate 100% of net proceeds to the environmental charity of your choice."
As ThredUp also noted then, it wasn't just the resale site taking note of the practice. Shareholders and consumers alike were upset, with the Times of London accusing the label of trying to prevent its wares getting into the hands of "the wrong people" through discount sales.
Meanwhile, the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said Thursday that the group was doing "cartwheels" over the company's announcement that real animal fur would no longer be part of its designs, saying in a statement emailed to Retail Dive that move was a recognition of "overwhelming public opinion against" its use and calling on Canada Goose to stop using coyote fur "for the frivolous trim" on its jackets.
Burberry's turnabout on fur, like its new burning ban, also begins promptly. "There will be no real fur in Riccardo Tisci's debut collection for Burberry later this month, and we will phase out existing real fur products," the company said in a press release.
Gucci, Armani and Ralph Lauren have also stopped using fur, and Stella McCartney never did.