Jul 23, 2018
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Burberry could face investigation over waste burning strategy

Jul 23, 2018

By burning more than £28m of stock over the last year, Burberry has been potentially breaking the law under UK environmental guidelines, an environmental consultancy has claimed.

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The upmarket fashion house has been in hot water since reports emerged last week that it regularly destroys unsold clothes, accessories and perfume to stop discounting and reinforce its exclusivity. More than £90 million of products have been burned by the brand over the past five years, using a strategy that is well-known among luxury brands.

Whilst Burberry said the disposal had been carried out in a responsible manner, a consultant at Eunomia is claiming that the brand failed to live up to its legal obligations, as it didn’t take the appropriate measures to minimise waste and maximise recycling.

“It’s a real problem that businesses aren’t aware of their environmental obligations. Since 2011, all companies in the UK have been required to apply the waste hierarchy. That means they have to take all reasonable steps to prevent waste; to reuse what can’t be prevented; and recycle what can’t be reused. Only after these possibilities have been exhausted should they consider incineration or landfill. Our experience is that there is a great deal that companies can do to apply the waste hierarchy, saving money and achieving better environmental outcomes in the process,” Peter Jones, principal consultant at Eunomia, told The Times.

“Every time a company has its waste collected, they have to declare they are complying with the hierarchy. But it does not appear that Burberry is living up to its legal obligations.”

Jones has called on the Environment Agency, a government outfit, to investigate Burberry and its waste strategy. The Environment Agency confirmed companies are required to comply with the waste hierarchy and that it takes "a risk-based approach" to enforcement.

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