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Stakeholder Engagement

Understanding the views and values of all our stakeholders is critical to Burberry's success and we use a range of tools to foster an open dialogue with all of them.

Employees

HOW THE COMPANY ENGAGES

Employee Engagement Survey:

Our third annual global survey took place in 2019 and indicated improvement across several areas with 85% of employees understanding how their job contributes to Burberry’s overall goals. Additionally, the results confirmed that 87% of employees were proud to work at Burberry and 82% of employees confirmed they were motivated to go above and beyond what is expected to make Burberry successful. We use these results to identify and drive change across the Group.

Communication:

We communicate daily with our teams across the business to keep them informed and engaged, listen to their feedback and build a sense of belonging. Written communications, videos and podcasts are made available via Burberry World, our global intranet. We hold calls and in-person briefings and our teams have opportunities to engage with the Executive Committee and the Board. We communicated extensively with our Sales Associates during the year, providing regular operational updates and training around our creative transition and new products. We also made our purpose journey as inclusive as possible, inviting the whole organisation to take part. We crafted an approach that combined the traditional elements of input, such as archival research, global surveys and focus groups, with more creative information gathering like doodle walls.

Development:

We have an ongoing commitment to ensure our colleagues are growing and developing. To do this, we use tools and services such as My Career, our online career development tool, and Burberry Voices, a podcast about the career journeys of our leaders, as well as our Leadership Development Programme, which has been rolled out globally. Burberry's Career Development Programme focuses on enabling employees to make informed decisions about future opportunities, experiences and career moves. Following the success of the UK Careers Week in 2018, we rolled out Careers Weeks  globally in Hong Kong S.A.R., Leeds, London, New York and Shanghai. These were face-to-face and virtual events focusing on learning, development and careers. Burberry also launched new Learning and Development Tools through our digital intranet Burberry World to support  employees in their development of new skills. For example, we support our colleagues in innovative thinking through programmes such as cross-functional problem-solving days, which involve finding creative solutions to opportunities and challenges. 

Smarter Working:

To improve wellbeing, a smarter working model was introduced in the financial year to encourage office-based employees to work off-site one day per week. The results showed that working off-site improves work-life balance by reducing participating employees' time spent commuting. In addition, it has a positive impact on wellness, productivity and morale, while also reducing our employees' carbon footprint. To help employees adapt to off-site working, new technologies and behavioural guidelines were also introduced. These practices also meant that we had  the infrastructure to enable our employees to work remotely following the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Diversity and inclusion:

We have introduced a new and inclusive Parental Leave Policy, which provides a minimum of 18 weeks' paid leave to all new parents. Read more on page 46 of the Annual Report. In November 2019, we launched an Internal Diversity and Inclusion Council. The council, which will meet four times per year, is tasked with acting as an internal sounding board for Burberry on matters pertaining to diversity and inclusion. Read more on page 45 of the Annual Report. A Wellbeing Council and Wellbeing forum were set up in 2019. The Forum comprises representatives from across different functions and regions. Their role is to ensure employees’ voices are heard. The Council comprises senior leaders who can help influence decision-making in the business.

HOW THE BOARD ENGAGES

Global Workforce Advisory Forum:

In accordance with the 2018 Corporate Governance Code (the Code), the Board approved the establishment of a Global Workforce Advisory Forum in order to ensure meaningful two-way communication between the Board and the workforce. The aim was to better understand the views of the zorkforce when making decisions in the boardroom. The Global Workforce Advisory Forum is made up of representatives from a variety of roles globally and during FY 2019/20 it met twice to discuss a wide range of topics. These included employee views on executive remuneration and its alignment with wider Group pay, the importance of balancing global brand language and embracing local influences, building an inclusive environment across Burberry, sustainability and operating responsibly. Gerry Murphy, our Chairman, and Orna NíChionna, Independent Non- Executive Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee, represented the Board at two meetings and shared with the Board the engagement process, outcomes and insights from these meetings. These insights were particularly helpful to the Board in formulating the proposed 2020 Directors’ Remuneration Policy and in their consideration of the Group’s diversity and inclusion approach. More information on the Global Workforce Advisory Forum can be found on page 44 of the Annual Report and additional information on the Group’s approach to diversity and inclusion can also be found on page 44 of the Annual Report.

Employee Engagement Survey:

The Board reviewed the results of the Employee Engagement Survey, which highlighted opportunities for continued improvement in relation to operational efficiency, wellbeing and career development. Actions to address these areas were discussed and agreed with the Board prior to implementation by senior management.

Direct interaction:

Members of the Board also meet employees in a variety of ways throughout the year. Examples include visiting stores and other sites, speaking at town hall meetings and at events such as our International Women’s Day celebration. In March 2020, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Orna NíChionna, along with two other Burberry employees, participated in a panel at Burberry’s London offices discussing the important role women have played in shaping Burberry’s heritage and will continue to play in influencing Burberry's future. These opportunities for interaction help the Board individually and collectively understand areas of importance for employees and other stakeholders. More information on International Women’s Day can be found on page 44 of the Annual Report.

COVID-19:

More information about Burberry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our employees can be found on pages 56 to 58 of the Annual Report.

Customers

HOW THE COMPANY ENGAGES

Customer insights:

We use insights to develop our understanding of luxury fashion customers and enhance our customer proposition. Through research and analysis, we explore what inspires and excites them and use data and analytics to inform our decision making so we can best meet their needs.

Customer service:

We are constantly increasing and improving the assistance we offer to customers to ensure they are able to contact us at any time of the day or night through their preferred medium, including phone, email, social and Burberry.com chat. At present, we offer customer service assistance in 14 languages.

Personalised luxury:

We enhance the depth and meaningfulness of customer interaction with our brand by offering frequent opportunities for personalisation across all channels, including social, email, Burberry.com and in store. In September 2019, we launched R Message, a direct messaging platform on the Burberry app allowing Sales Associates to communicate directly with customers and offer one-to-one service at any time. The messaging platform uses technology to augment human relationships and enhance the luxury service Burberry offers its clients both in stores and online.

Social:

We engage with customers through our digital platforms, highlighting our products and important brand moments, such as our fashion shows and the unveiling of our refreshed Thomas Burberry Monogram. September 2020 will mark the two-year anniversary of the launch of B Series, a unique socially-native experience allowing customers to purchase limited-edition products only on Instagram, WeChat, Kakao and LINE. In 2019, Burberry was one of the first luxury companies to stage a major campaign on TikTok. Our TB challenges on Douyin and TikTok generated over a billion views and allowed us to connect with young consumers in a way that felt authentic to them.

Experiences:

We are using augmented reality to inspire our customers by creating unique interactive experiences. To celebrate the opening of our flagship store in Tokyo in November 2019, visitors could take part in an exclusive augmented reality experience. In December 2019, Burberry launched a digital pop-up experience powered by Google Lens in London. In March 2020, we opened an immersive pop-up installation in Selfridges, offering an augmented reality experience that brought penguins to life by scanning various QR codes inside and outside the store.

Online retail:

At the beginning of 2020, we launched an augmented reality shopping tool through Google Search technology. Using augmented reality in commerce transforms the product discovery-and-search phase of the retail journey, by reducing the friction between online shopping and the in-store experience. Incorporating augmented reality into the online retail space provides customers with additional knowledge, offering an experience that they could previously only get in stores.

HOW THE BOARD ENGAGES

Customer experience:

As customers themselves, the Board regularly engages with the business across all of our channels. Insights, whether in relation to packaging, product curation or ease of use of digital platforms, are regularly discussed with management.

Customer insights:

Most of Burberry’s engagement with customers is at the operational level. The Board receives regular updates from the CEO and other members of the senior management team on sales performance and brand heat. Updates are also shared in relation to evolving relationships with customers as we respond to market conditions and trends. These updates assist the Board in developing and maintaining its understanding of customer trends, as well as potential issues and how these could be addressed.

COVID-19:

More information about Burberry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our customers can be found on pages 56 and 58 on the Annual Report.

Shareholders

HOW THE COMPANY ENGAGES

Investment community:

The Board benefits from the views of the investment community in their decision-making and we therefore encourage multichannel engagement through our Investor Relations team, Company Secretariat, Board and Executive Team.

Multichannel engagement:

We make available all our investor announcements, including our Interim and Preliminary results, through multiple channels, including audiocasts and webcasts. Investors are also invited to attend major announcements in person.

Ongoing engagement:

During FY 2019/20, our Investor Relations team and members of our senior management held over 300 meetings with investors, both with smaller and larger shareholdings.

Perception gauge:

We use an independent third party, commissioned by the Board, to interview all significant shareholders and evaluate investor sentiment.

HOW THE BOARD ENGAGES

Board engagement:

The Board receives monthly updates from the Investor Relations team, providing an overview of market sentiment, share price performance and any meetings held with investors. In addition to the meetings undertaken by management throughout the year, various Non-Executive Directors, including the Chairman and Chair of our Remuneration Committee, have engaged with shareholders in relation to governance and remuneration topics. In particular, as part of the shareholder consultation undertaken in advance of proposing the 2020 Directors’ Remuneration Policy, the Chair of the Remuneration Committee consulted with more than twenty of our largest shareholders. More information on the Directors’ Remuneration Policy can be found on pages 151 to 185 of the Directors' Remuneration Report. 

The Board and management regularly receive and respond to queries from shareholders on a wide range of Enviormental, Social and Governance (ESG) topics such as, sustainability, climate change, recycling and waste and human capital management.

During the year, views from investors informed the Board's decisions on areas such as the operation of the Capital Allocation Framework, which included the quantum of the share buyback programme in FY 2019/20. More information on the Capital Allocation Framework can be found on page 90 of the Annual Report.

Communications:

Under Burberry’s corporate governance framework the Board reviews and approves Burberry’s material communications to investors, such as the trading updates and results announcements, the Annual Report and Accounts and Notice of Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Annual General Meeting:

The AGM is also an important opportunity for the Board to share directly with shareholders the performance and strategic direction of the Company. In 2019, 29 shareholders attended the AGM, 77.99 % of total voting rights voted and all resolutions were passed.

COVID-19:

More information about Burberry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our shareholders can be found on pages 56 to 58 of the Annual Report.

Communities

HOW THE COMPANY ENGAGES

COVID-19:

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Board and management’s priority has been the safety and wellbeing of our employees, our partners, customers and our communities. Throughout, the Board supported management efforts in following government and health authority guidelines and the measures that have been put in place aligned with these that are designed to help prevent the spread of the virus. Read more on pages 56 to 58 on Annual Report.

Career inspiration:

Throughout the school year, we invite local students to take part in a variety of activities, such as Inspiration Days and Work Experience. Burberry’s Student Engagement programme supports our goal to positively impact the lives of one million people in our communities.

Responsibility Advisory Committee:

Since 2013, we have met quarterly with a group of external expert stakeholders from NGOs, social enterprise and academia so that they can challenge and comment upon Burberry’s Responsibility Agenda.

Burberry Inspire:

We work with schools in Greater London, Yorkshire and New York to enhance young people’s awareness of and access to the creative industries through in-school workshops, inspiration days and work experience weeks at Burberry.

Burberry apprentices:

Through our apprenticeship scheme, we offer young people training opportunities in areas such as craftsmanship and luxury business, encouraging them to develop the skills, confidence and experience required to pursue careers within the luxury industry and beyond.

Employee volunteering:

Employees are encouraged to donate up to three working days a year to support their local communities, with colleagues getting involved in activities as diverse as cooking for foodbanks, sports coaching and revaluing waste through upcycling.

Financial support:

We donated 1% of Group adjusted profits before tax to charitable causes each year, including disaster relief support, scholarships and long-term community programmes led by The Burberry Foundation.

The Burberry Foundation:

We support The Burberry Foundation (UK registered charity number 1154468) in creating long-term partnerships that drive positive change in our communities and help build a more sustainable future through innovation.

In-kind donations:

We donate raw materials and finished goods to support a variety of causes, including assisting young people on creative courses and providing business clothing for employability programmes.

HOW THE BOARD ENGAGES

Strategy updates:

The Board receives regular updates on the implementation of the Burberry Foundation’s five-year strategy, which aims to positively impact one million people by 2020 through supporting community programmes, making financial contributions and encouraging employee volunteering.

Sustainability Steering Group (SSG):

In 2019, Burberry established a SSG which will meet at least three times a year to oversee the Group’s strategy on environmental and social issues. The SSG is chaired by Burberry's CEO, who is accountable for ensuring oversight of climate-related risks and opportunities. It is also attended by the CO&FO, who is also a member of the Leadership Network for the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) initiative.

Supporting communities:

The Board understands the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry and receives updates on the sustainability initiatives and projects currently being undertaken by the Group. In November 2019, the Board received an immersive update on the refresh of Burberry’s Sustainability Strategy and were supportive of the approach and objectives. This built on the work we did in FY 2018/19, when we explored the uncertainties, risks and opportunities associated with climate impacts to 2040, in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). More information on Burberry’s Responsibility Agenda can be found on pages 60 to 71 of the Annual Report. Further information on Burberry's progress in meeting the recommendations of TCFD can be found on page 112 of the Annual Report.

The Burberry Foundation:

The work of The Burberry Foundation is key to Burberry’s Responsibility Agenda. In FY 2019/20, the Board agreed to donate 1% of Group adjusted profits before tax to social and community causes worldwide, which include disaster relief support, scholarships and long-term community programmes led by The Burberry Foundation.

COVID-19

More information about Burberry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our communities can be found on pages 56 to 58 of the Annual Report.

Partners

HOW THE COMPANY ENGAGES

Sustainability partners:

We pursue our goals through strategic partnerships with NGOs, industry peers, initiatives and business partners, including the Ethical Trading Initiative, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

Burberry Foundation:

During FY 2017/18, five-year partnerships were launched with Teach First and The Careers & Enterprise Company, the Royal College of Art, Oxfam, PUR Projet and Elvis & Kresse.

Innovation:

We collaborate with other companies to create the best experiences for our customers. 

Wholesalers:

We nurture close relationships with our wholesale partners through monthly and weekly updates to understand their product needs and ongoing preferences. 

Licensees:

We maintain a frequent cycle of meetings and reviews with our licensing partners, covering all aspects of product, brand, marketing, merchandising and financial results.

Supply chain partners:

We work with members of our supply chain on an ongoing basis to drive social and environmental improvements, focusing on every step in our sourcing and manufacturing processes. We involve our supply chain partners in initiatives that support our 2022 Responsibility goal of driving positive change through 100% of our products, and ensure that they comply with our Responsible Business Principles.

Brand protection:

Governments influence long-term retail environments, environmental priorities, trade, intellectual property, quality and payment and other business matters, which are all key areas for Burberry. We, therefore, regularly engage with governments in the countries where we operate to understand their challenges so we can seek solutions to shared environmental, social, economic and governance issues.

HOW THE BOARD ENGAGES

Environmental impact on operations:

Throughout the year, the Board received updates on sustainability-related matters, including those related to climate change. These were supported by insights from independent sustainability strategy consultants. During FY 2019/20 a cross-functional TCFD Working Group was established to assess and implement the required governance and strategy for climate-related risks and opportunities, and the metrics and targets used to assess and manage these. The TCFD Working Group reports to the Risk Committee, which is chaired by Julie Brown, the CO&FO.
In support of TCFD, the Remuneration Committee is in the process of considering non-financial performance metrics, including the achievement of ESG targets for senior leaders across the Group. More information on Burberry’s approach to implementing TCFD can be found on page 112 of the Annual Report.

Ethical trading: 

The Board approved the Transparency in Supply Chains and Modern Slavery Statement, which widened the scope of the ethical trading programme to include packaging, visual merchandising and recycling facilities. More information on the Human Rights Statement can be found on page 71 of the Annual Report and our Modern Slavery Act Statement can be found at Burberryplc.com

COVID-19:

More information about Burberry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our partners can be found on pages 56 to 58 of the Annual Report.

Governments

HOW THE COMPANY ENGAGES

Governmental priorities:

Governments influence long-term retail environments, environmental priorities, employment laws, trade and other business matters, which are all key areas for Burberry. We therefore regularly engage with governments in the countries where we operate to understand their concerns so we can seek solutions to shared environmental, social, economic and governance issues.

For example, in FY 2019/20, we applied for and achieved AEO status. This is an internationally recognised quality mark awarded to businesses capable of demonstrating that their role in the international supply chain is secure and that they exercise customs controls and procedures that meet UK and EU standards.

HOW THE BOARD ENGAGES

Preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU: 

The Board received regular updates on the work being carried out by the business in relation to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. 

AEO updates:

The Board received updates on the work being undertaken by the Company to achieve AEO status, which included the benefits of attaining AEO accreditation and the key requirements for employees. The Board also received AEO training in February 2020. More information on the Company’s AEO accreditation can be found on page 54 of the Annual Report.

COVID-19:

More information about Burberry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Burberry's efforts in supporting the UK Government can be found on pages 56 to 58 of the Annual Report.