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Approach

As a global luxury retailer and manufacturer, employing over 10,000 people and with over 400 retail locations worldwide, Burberry is acutely aware of its responsibilities and the
opportunities to drive positive change.

As a luxury company, we create products using only the highest quality materials and multiple communities from across the world are involved in bringing these to our customers. This means the impact of our business on the environment and our interaction with local economies is international and varied.

Our Responsibility agenda is designed to drive positive change and build a more sustainable future through innovation.  We have set ourselves ambitious goals for 2022 that sit across Burberry’s entire footprint. We will invest in the communities at the heart of our business through a series of bespoke programmes, delivered in partnership with expert organizations. We will drive new approaches to some of the most pressing problems faced by our industry and lead by example to champion more sustainable resources. We will focus not only on treating the symptoms but on
tackling the cause.

We have a strong track record of caring for the environment and our communities. Starting in 2004, we established our ethical trade, community investment and environmental programmes and our first five-year responsibility goals launched in 2012. We have since completed nearly 3,000 supply chain audits and assessments, donated more than £22 million to charitable causes, cut water use at key mills by nearly 20%, and banned per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs). More information in our progress so far can be read in our Responsibility Reflections report.

Acting responsibly and with integrity is in Burberry’s DNA. Thomas Burberry was a man of strong philanthropic principles. He donated clothes and materials to the Red Cross and local charities and he was well known for welcoming those in need into his home. Just as his invention of gabardine is the foundation of our company, so too the example he set remains a part of our culture. We believe in the power of our heritage to positively influence our future.


Creating Tomorrow's Heritage
Our Responsibility goals to 2022

 
Responsibility strategy 2017

Headline Goals for 2022

COMMUNITIES PRODUCT COMPANY

Positively impact1 1 million lives in the communities that sustain our industry

Create positive change1 through 100% of our products

Achieve carbon neutrality
and revalue waste

Tackle educational inequality, improve career advice and access to the creative industries through school, teacher and student engagement programmes, work experience and apprenticeships2.

Promote the STEAM1 agenda, using design thinking to fuel innovation and create sustainable materials for our industry through sponsored research groups and scholarships2.

Inspire design innovation and ignite the makers’ movement* through creating new solutions to the endemic waste challenge facing our industry2.

Foster community cohesion and resilience by recruiting community coordinators, establishing cultural hubs, running workshops and mentoring programmes2.

Stimulate system change to make sustainable materials more mainstream by enabling more responsible cashmere goat herding, sourcing only Better Cotton Initiative cotton and procuring leather only from certified tanneries.

Support the transformation of the global energy markets by increasing demand for renewable energy where it is currently not available.

Advance economic and social development by empowering rural communities through training on sustainable farming practices and animal breeding programmes2.

Evolve our supply chain by empowering workers, supporting their livelihoods and wellbeing.

 

 

Embed a low carbon operating model by adopting new ways of working throughout our business.

 

Empower employees worldwide to dedicate three working days a year to impactful projects and initiatives in support of their local communities.

Enable our supply chain partners to manage their climate change impacts by focussing on energy, water and chemical use, recycling and air emissions.

Invest in innovative projects to help restore and protect the ecosystems on which our industry depends.

These are headlines of our new strategy. Further details and partnerships will be announced throughout 2017. For information on our ongoing programmes, please see Areas of Work

1Definition of key terms

Positively impact people:  we have identified specific needs in areas across our value chain and through partnerships will work to address those needs. This will translate into different impacts depending on the geography and needs, and will be demonstrated at regular intervals over the course of five years.

Positive change through products: the sourcing and making of products has impacts on both people and the environment. A conscious commercial decision is required at the point of purchase by Burberry to ensure it results in positive change.

STEAM: this a new educational approach, which brings together Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths to guide inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking.

Makers’ movement: social movement with an artisan spirit which promotes the creation of  products from discarded materials.

2 Charitable programmes funded by Burberry Foundation, in line with the Foundation's new grant-making agenda. Details of grant partners and programmes to be announced during 2017.

Materiality

Our 2022 goals were developed with the help of key stakeholders, to address the most significant issues for our business as well as the most pressing social and environmental needs along our value chain. They have also been informed by the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

This new strategy is a real step-change in our approach, taking a truly holistic approach with the ambition to not just do ‘less bad’, but instead use our brand position to ‘do good’. We are committed to driving real impact, tackling the causes rather than the symptoms and measuring the difference made by our actions.

When developing our community focused programmes, we first worked with our Product Development, Sourcing and Business Strategy teams to identify key locations along our value chain where we have the biggest impacts and where we are uniquely placed to make a difference. We then liaised with external expert organisations, to identify local community needs and ways to address these.

Our product, energy and waste goals have been informed by science and by over ten years of experience in developing and implementing social and environmental programmes. Our new targets have also been influenced by a multi-stakeholder event we convened in July 2015. This included experts from academia, NGOs and businesses from a variety of industries, with whom we shared our early plans and whose input and comments we used to shape our journey ahead.

In early 2017 we shared our draft strategy with our External Advisory Committee, comprising experts from Forum for the Future, Oxfam GB and University of Leeds, to solicit their comments on materiality and ambition of our goals. We also shared our plans with Ernst & Young LLP, who provide limited assurance of selected elements of our external reporting, to discuss our approach to measuring impacts of the new strategy.

Our 2022 goals and commitments were finally assessed for materiality and signed off by our senior leadership team and company Board.

Governance

Burberry’s Chief People, Strategy and Corporate Affairs Officer is responsible for all internal people matters as well as health and safety and the delivery of our new responsibility goals for 2022, and regularly reports on these topics to the Group Risk Committee and the Board. The Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer also chairs the Inspired People Steering Committee, which consists of senior executives from relevant business units and oversees, amongst others, the implementation of Burberry’s responsibility commitments.

Targets relating to our new 2022 goals are owned by members of our senior leadership team. The implementation of responsibility programmes is supported by several policies and guided our External Advisory Committee, which comprises expert stakeholders.

A robust governance framework to ensure effective internal oversight, ownership and accountability, as well as external challenge and input:

Board The Board is responsible for the Group’s risk management and internal controls system. It is also responsible for oversight of the five strategic pillars: Product Focus; Productive Space; E-Commerce Leadership; Operational Excellence; Inspired People. 
Inspired People Steering Committee The Inspired People Steering Committee is responsible for the execution of Burberry’s fifth strategic priority, ‘Inspired People’. A key focus area is ensuring Burberry acts responsibly as a business. The Committee is chaired by Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer and meets monthly. 
Responsibility Team The Responsibility Team works with and supports internal teams to ensure implementation of the company’s Responsibility strategy and progress against goals. Team members are based in London, Leeds, Florence, Hong Kong and Tokyo.  
External Advisory Committee The External Advisory Committee is a group of leading independent stakeholders with expertise in different areas of sustainability. Committee members represent Forum for the Future, Oxfam GB and University of Leeds. This committee of ‘critical friends’ meets several times a year to hear progress updates and comment on draft strategies. 
Foundation Board The Foundation Board is responsible for upholding the Foundation’s vision and ensuring delivery of its charitable purpose. The Board meets four times a year. 

Burberry follows the Turnbull Report guidance and UK Corporate Governance Code. Further information on the approach to corporate governance can be found in the Corporate Governance section.

The Burberry Foundation

The Burberry Foundation was set up in 2008 by Burberry Group plc as an independent charity (UK registered charity number 1154468) for general charitable purposes and grant-making. The Foundation Board comprises two Burberry representatives as well as an independent trustee. The Board meets four times a year and is responsible for upholding the Foundation’s vision and ensuring delivery of its charitable purpose.

From 2008 – 2016 the Foundation concentrated on helping young people realise their dreams through the power of their creativity. Grants focused on supporting innovative youth organisations, helping young people gain confidence, build connections and reach for opportunities.

Building on this, but considering the varied social, environmental and economic impacts of the luxury industry on communities worldwide, the Foundation has evolved its agenda to help address key needs in some of these communities. It is therefore taking a long-term approach and focusing its grant-making on promoting the STEAM agenda, tackling educational inequality, reducing waste and supporting social and economic development.

This is also in line with Burberry’s new responsibility plans for 2022 , enabling the Foundation to maximise impacts of its grants by leveraging key Burberry assets, including the vast experience, skills and passions of its employees.

As part of its new grant-making agenda, the Foundation has awarded a grant of £3 million to the Royal College of Art to establish a new Materials Futures Research Group and provide scholarships to help 30 students attend the RCA and reach their full potential, regardless of their financial circumstances. This is the first in a series of grants to be announced during 2017.