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British luxury brand Burberry has burned its unsold products to secure its brand value.
In its annual report released last June, Burberry admitted to burning its products worth £28.6 million in 2017. In the last five years, the company has destroyed over £90 million worth of goods. According to the brand, the incineration of its products like clothes and cosmetics was a fight against the creation of counterfeit products and the underselling of its excess goods.
Maria Malone, a fashion business professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, explained that Burberry is going to great lengths to regain its brand’s exclusivity. This is due to the rise of fake products that feature the brand’s trademark checkered print. Malone added that Burberry wants to ensure that its products will not be sold at a lower price, which can downgrade the brand’s value.
However, Burberry received criticisms for burning its surplus because of the process’ significant environmental impact. In July, online resale company thredUP called Burberry’s attention, saying that burning perfectly good products is not sustainable. thredUP also emphasized that the fashion industry is already accountable for 10% of the world’s total carbon emissions.
Burberry justified its actions by stating that it considers the environment by utilizing incinerators that can collect the energy released by the burning process.
In light of this issue, Melinda Tually of the global organization Fashion Revolution encourages brands to look beyond the value of exclusivity. She suggests that brands should highlight the quality of their products instead. Tually also shared that Burberry can deal with excess goods by selling them to charity, which is done by other companies.