Burberry Burns Excess Products to Protect Its Brand Value

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. incineration / ɪnˌsɪnəˈreɪʃən / (n) – a process of destruction in the form of burning

    Incineration or burning of plastic and other wastes is harmful to the environment. 

  2. counterfeit / kaʊntɚˌfɪt / (adj) – fake

    I didn’t know that I bought a counterfeit designer bag instead of a real one.

  3. go to great lengths / goʊ tuː greɪt lɛŋθs / (idiom) – to work hard to achieve something

    I went to great lengths just to graduate on time.

  4. surplus / ˈsɚpləs / (n) – an excess in the amount needed

    The company decided to sell its surplus at a discounted price.

  5. look beyond (someone/something) / lʊk biˈɑːnd / (idiom) – to think or plan beyond someone/something

    I think you need to look beyond what you know to come up with better plans.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Is Burberry’s reason for burning surplus products justified? Why or why not?
• If you were a regular Burberry customer, would you still support the brand after knowing how it deals with its surplus? Explain.

Discussion B

• What factors affect your decision to support a brand (e.g. the brand’s advocacy)? Discuss.
• In what ways can brands become more aware of their impact on the environment?