By designing with our sustainability ambitions in mind, we can ensure that our products are consciously crafted, minimising our environmental impact and creating opportunities for our global communities.
We have engaged our creative community through training on circular design and have hosted a range of product disassembly workshops to help teams better understand how the lives of our products can be extended.
We are open, caring and committed to respecting and safeguarding the rights of everyone in our supply chain. In order to ensure we are having a positive impact on the people touched by our global business, we work closely with our supply chain partners to promote ways of working that reflect our values.
We continually assess human rights risks and labour conditions across our supply chain as part of our ethical trading programme, which has been in place since 2004. We require all our suppliers to meet international labour standards and local laws and agree to our Responsible Business Principles. Measures include announced and unannounced audits, training and improvement programmes, and interviews with people working in our supply chain, to help us to ensure our third-party suppliers are aligned to our expectations.
We believe that everyone should have access to fair and responsible employment. To support this, we are an accredited UK Living Wage employer, a Principal Partner of the Living Wage Foundation and are on the steering group of the Global Living Wage Initiative, which aims to provide a global living wage standard.
We make clear to all our suppliers that any form of modern slavery, including forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour, is not permitted. We provide training on identifying risks of modern slavery to our employees and partners to support this. More information can be found in our Modern Slavery Statement on Burberryplc.com.
During FY2021/22, the COVID-19 pandemic remained a key source of concern and we have focused on maintaining effective communication channels with our business associates to address the challenges of returning to work and maintaining a safe environment for our people. Building on our COVID-19 safety and containment measures, in FY 2021/22, we focused on providing our key vendors with mental health coaching sessions to support team members throughout the pandemic. Led by an external, specialist consultancy, the training provided our key vendors’ Corporate Responsibility teams with knowledge and tools to manage their emotional wellbeing and that of the people in their supply chains.
We seek to minimise waste at all stages of our value chain. We follow clearly defined waste hierarchy principles. Where we have unsaleable goods, we reuse, repurpose, donate or recycle them.
Consideration for sustainability permeates our entire design process, which ensures our products are consciously crafted. We engage our creative community through training on circular design and have hosted a range of product disassembly workshops to help teams better understand how the lives of our products can be extended.
Over the lifetime of our five-year Responsibility strategy, we engaged with our supply chain partners on textile waste recycling, awarding facilities that recycle a minimum of 50% of recyclable textile waste with a positive attribute. We also ensured they had a time-bound roadmap to work towards increasing recycling. We focused on increasing the recycled content within our products, too. We awarded a positive attribute where the main material of a product is made from 70% or more recycled content for synthetic fibres and 20% or more recycled content for natural fibres. This is substantiated by recognised certifications, including the Global Recycled Standard and Recycled Claim Standard. We invested in finding recycling solutions for challenging materials, such as leather. We have funded a two-year research project, which began in 2020, with The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles & Apparel (HKRITA) to develop a system for leather goods recycling. On top of this we have recently extended our funding to HKRITA to research the automatic removal of garment accessories and trims from finished products to aid the recycling process.
In December 2021, we launched a UK-based pilot for product resale and rental with My Wardrobe HQ (MWHQ), the UK’s leading fashion rental platform. For each Burberry transaction on the site, 40% of profits are donated to Smart Works, a long-time Burberry charity partner, which provides high-quality interview clothes and coaching to disadvantaged unemployed women. Our partnership with MWHQ is complementary to our broader strategy to become Climate Positive by 2040, supporting the principles of a circular economy. This includes expanding reuse, repair, donation and recycling routes and developing new partnerships and revaluation solutions.
We continue to donate raw materials and finished goods to various charities, design schools and colleges globally by establishing innovative partnerships. An example of this is a partnership in Italy with Alta Scuola di Pelletteria, a leather school and San Patrignano an organisation supporting marginalised youth. The school trains San Patrignano residents in leather good disassembly and repurposing using excess Burberry materials.During FY 2020/21, we also launched the ReBurberry Fabric in partnership with The British Fashion Council. The initiative, through which we donate leftover fabrics to fashion students, was expanded during FY 2021/22. Since the launch of the partnership, we have given 12,491 metres of fabric, benefiting 33 fashion schools across the UK and over 200 students.
We know that the enduring quality of Burberry pieces means their appeal and value is long-lasting. This, along with our mission to build a more sustainable future, led us to launch a luxury aftercare service to extend the life of our products.
We offer a range of luxury aftercare services to help extend the life of our customers treasured pieces and ensure it looks its best for years to come. In FY 2021/22, we handled over 28k repair and replacement part enquiries, ranging from Trench Coat re-proofing to repairing vintage items, and we also repaired c.20,000 items which equal to eight tonnes. Building on our existing repair offering, we rolled out a Leather Refresh service globally, offering complimentary leather conditioning to extend the lives of bags. We also introduced a Trench Refresh service, which invites clients to a Trench diagnostic session with an in-house expert. With the aim of extending a Trench Coat’s life for as long as possible, our customers can opt to have their coats reproofed, repaired and/or have elements replaced. We use organic, biodegradable solutions for this service, which reduces its impact on the environment. For our UK-based clients, the service is undertaken at our Castleford factory in Yorkshire, where our iconic Trench Coats are made.
In addition, our digital design team has been working hard to bring to life our new aftercare page on Burberry.com. This new page will help our clients understand the different aftercare services we offer for Trench Coats, leather goods, apparel and scarves. It also provides clients with advice about maintaining their Burberry products and enables clients to check store availability for services, and book dedicated in-store aftercare appointments.
For more details on our business model and value chain, please see here.
Our collections feature high-quality and sustainably sourced materials. Through our use of these materials and engagement with suppliers, we also stimulate wider demand across our industry for materials that are less impactful on the environment.
We have a series of ambitious targets to achieve this aim:
*applicable where the use of recycled fibres is in line with local laws.
We operate strict guidelines regarding water usage, recognising that it is a precious resource. We work closely with our supply chain partners, cultivating a spirit of openness and transparency to understand and monitor our water impacts at the manufacturing stage of our value chain. Through our water conservation programme, we aim to improve our water resilience profile and reduce our water footprint and impacts. As part of this initiative, we actively engage our partners to evaluate their own water practices and resilience, with a particular focus on wet processors, such as dyehouses, tanneries and textile mills.
Our programme seeks to evaluate risks through the use of the WWF water risk assessment tool, minimise water use as well as track and promote water management practices and technologies that facilitate water efficiency and recycling. In 2021-22, we mapped the water resilience profile of our partners and co-funded three in-depth water efficiency evaluations to identify opportunities for implementing innovative recycling solutions. Find out more about our water conservation framework here.
Going beyond our value chain, we advocate for change across our industry. As part of this, we support the WWF’s open letter calling for businesses to ensure that sustainability remains front of mind after the pandemic, focusing on environmental impacts as a result of water consumption and pollution.
Our chemical management approach is industry-leading. We committed to the elimination of unwanted chemicals in early 2014 and shortly after we became the first luxury brand to adopt the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) in 2015. We also align to the ZDHC’s Wastewater Guidelines, ensuring that wet processors perform and disclose wastewater testing in the ZDHC Gateway twice a year. We publish these results annually on Burberryplc.com.
We pioneered the elimination of Fluorinated Chemicals within the fashion industry, which are persistent in water bodies, going beyond ZDHC MRSL requirements. We engage at different levels of our supply chain to foster the implementation of best practices, and ensure they select chemicals that do not have harmful effects on health or the environment. Our supply chain partners are continuously assessed in order to guarantee alignment with our standards, with tools that enable transparency and accountability.
We have been an active member on the Board of the ZDHC Foundation since June 2018, helping shape the direction of the industry in the chemical management roadmap, including that of other brands and luxury peers, suppliers and external chemical experts. Since November 2021, we have acted as Chair of the Strategy Committee and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. In 2021, our ZDHC chemical management implementation was recognised as “Aspirational,” the highest category of success in this year’s Brands to Zero Leader Programme.
All Burberry retail bags and boxes are reusable and recyclable, and made from a minimum of 40% recycled content, including coffee cups and FSC Mix certified paper. Since the launch of the new packaging, we have recycled 66 million coffee cups into Burberry packaging. All retail bags and gift boxes which have a beautiful, luxurious feel, are plastic-free, fully recyclable and reusable.
Our products are transported on recyclable hangers made from a minimum of 60% recycled content and our signature oak garment covers are made from 100% recycled polyester.
Eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging is a priority for us which is why we have committed to eliminate plastic from our retail and digital packaging portfolio by 2025 and accelerating efforts on plastic reduction in our product and transit packaging.