Burberry’s history of supporting others is rooted in the altruism of our founder, Thomas Burberry. Throughout his life, he used his success as a way to contribute to society. We continue his legacy today, championing our communities, in particular young people, and working with organisations making a positive impact around the world.
Since 2017, as part of our current Communities strategy, we have collaborated with external expert organisations to identify ways to support local communities across our value chain and deliver our key ambition to positively impact 1 million people by 2022.
In addition to fulfilling our strategic goals, we regularly review the effectiveness of our programmes, ensuring the initiatives we develop are impactful and provide the best resources and support. From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked closely with our partners to adapt our programmes to ensure support is directed to where it can most benefit our communities. Although in-person activities were limited in 2020 due to social distancing restrictions, our people made a positive impact in their local communities through virtual volunteering and online fundraising projects. The shift to virtual volunteering allowed our people to harness their professional skills to aid our charity partners from home. The type of virtual activities delivered include content creation and live events for youth engagement programmes, digital mentoring, team fundraising events, career coaching and skills-based support sessions for charity partners.
Burberry donates a percentage of adjusted Group profit before tax to charitable initiatives each year. Independent of Burberry Group plc, the majority of our philanthropic work is carried out through The Burberry Foundation (UK registered charity number 1154468).
The Burberry Foundation’s mission is to use the power of creativity to drive positive change in global communities and build a more sustainable future through innovation. Working with leading organisations to support communities sustaining the luxury industry makes a significant contribution towards our goal of positively impacting 1 million people by 2022. Since the launch of this target 680,170^ people have been positively impacted.
The three pillars of our Communities strategy focus on projects that tackle educational inequality and build cultural capital; foster community cohesion and employability skills, and support social and economic development.
Our people can also contribute to our commitments in this arena by spending up to three working days a year supporting their local communities through corporate and The Burberry Foundation volunteering opportunities. In FY 2020/21, over 1,500 Burberry employees participated in volunteering and fundraising activities and collectively contributed over 6,000 hours to charitable causes.
Since 2010, Burberry has had a policy to donate 1% of Group adjusted profits before tax (PBT) to charitable causes. In FY 2020/21, this, together with exceptional donations made to the COVID-19 relief efforts, amounted to 1.13% of adjusted PBT to charitable causes.
Our people worldwide are offered three working days a year to volunteer in their local communities. During FY 2020/21, employees dedicated approximately 6,000 hours. Employees can also apply for match-funding for team fundraising activities.
Our in-kind donations range from one-off gifts of non-trade mark fabric and materials to assist young people on creative courses, such as our ReBurberry fabric, to donations of smart business clothing to support vulnerable people enrolled in employability programmes. In FY 2020/21, we donated over 14,000 items of business clothing to selected charities to enhance their employability programmes and help provide their clients with an extra boost of confidence as they prepare to enter or re-enter the job market.
The Burberry Foundation (UK registered charity number 1154448) launched an emergency relief appeal in April 2020 to help those working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic and support communities in need around the world. We launched branded face masks in August 2020, donating the proceeds directly to the Burberry Foundation COVID-19 Community Fund. All monies raised by the fund were directed to support relief efforts globally, from procuring and distributing surgical masks, gowns and other protective equipment to providing funding to food banks and healthcare charities.
We respect and uphold human rights wherever we operate and are aware that risks can arise in relation to our own workforce, our supply chain, our communities and customers. Burberry’s Human Rights Policy sets out our procedures to uphold human rights across these stakeholder groups, and the mechanisms we use to identify and address any instances of potential infringement. The policy was developed with reference to the International Bill of Human Rights and follows the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for the implementation of the UN’s Protect, Respect and Remedy framework. Responsibility for the policy lies with Burberry’s CEO. To ensure compliance with the policy, we assess human rights impacts and monitor labour conditions across our own operations and extended supply chain on a regular basis through our ethical trading programme, which is delivered by an established global team of ethical trading experts. Details of the programme and a full copy of our Human Rights Policy can be found here.
We conduct a Human Rights Impact Assessment every two years as part of our broader Human Rights due diligence process to confirm potential areas of risk, capture any emerging risks in relation to new operations and projects, and review and develop mitigation plans as required. We have completed four impact assessments since 2014 and our latest assessment took place within FY 2020/21.
The Human Rights Impact Assessment process involves mapping our own operations and those of our extended supply chain, and assessing them in terms of their potential impact on human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
For each assessment, key findings and mitigation plans were reviewed by external experts. In FY 2020/21, our Human Rights Impact Assessment highlighted increased risk in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in relation to workers’ health and wellbeing.
During ethical trade audits and as part of our broader Responsibility programme, we conduct interviews with workers to better understand their needs and perceptions, while gathering insights into the direct and indirect impacts of our business and developing focused mitigation plans where required. We also provide grievance mechanisms for our global employees, as well as confidential hotlines run by NGOs for workers in our supply chain. Currently, more than 16,000 workers across 34 factories in our third-party supply chain are provided with improved access to remedy and confidential support, including advice and information on workers’ rights and wellbeing. The effectiveness of these hotlines is regularly reviewed. During FY 2020/21, Burberry-sponsored hotlines received 529 calls and their resolutions have been monitored closely by our Responsibility team. Supporting our human rights commitment is our Modern Slavery Statement. This is published in line with the UK Modern Slavery Act and can be found on here.
At Burberry, we believe diversity of thought, experience and voice opens spaces for new ideas to thrive, fuelling creativity and enabling us to fulfil our purpose. Part of the work of The Burberry Foundation is to open career pathways within the creative industries and unlock opportunities for young people who may not otherwise have had access to or felt equipped to pursue a career in this arena. Over the past four years, The Burberry Foundation has partnered with leading education charities Teach First, The Careers & Enterprise Company and MyKindaFuture, with the goal of opening up opportunities to young people from disadvantaged communities in Yorkshire, where our iconic Burberry Trench Coat is manufactured, and London, where we have our head office.
With these programmes, we aim to inspire young people by expanding their career horizons and developing core employability skills.
During FY 2020/21, 130,360 students and teachers engaged in a variety of activities, including teacher training, careers talks, podcasts and inspiration sessions, online creative challenges and learning modules. Many of the activities were virtual.
Burberry Inspire, which first launched in Yorkshire in 2018 and expanded to New York City in 2020, measures the impact that enhancing cultural capital has on young people’s lives by connecting eminent arts organisations with schools. Both programmes are independently evaluated by our research partners, REPS of the City University of New York and the Policy Institute at King’s College London, to study the impact of the immersive arts and creative education programme on students’ development for the purpose of supporting longer-term adaptation within schools.
The global pandemic resulted in school activities turning to online platforms, which offered a unique opportunity for our Burberry Inspire programme partners in the UK and the USA to widen their reach by collaborating together and allowing students to interact with partner schools abroad. An example of this was the first collaboration between American Ballet Theatre and Northern Ballet on student choreography direction, resulting in the creation of four dance films performed by the companies’ dancers. The organisations worked with students online, enhancing their communication, leadership, creative-thinking and problem-solving skills. In total 15 schools participated in the programme and 7,485 students benefited during FY 2020/21.
* Denotes the results of a sample of direct beneficiaries surveyed.