Even when product patterns are carefully planned to maximise the use of a leather hide, the process inevitably creates small offcuts. Leather is a challenging material for our industry to recycle, so we’re actively engaging with our supply chain partners to repurpose leather waste through innovative partnerships.
We are a member of the Leather Working Group, a multi-stakeholder organisation that aims to improve the tanning industry by creating alignment on environmental priorities, highlighting best practices and providing guidelines for continual improvement. We encourage our tanneries to be audited by the Leather Working Group, and to monitor their water, energy and chemical consumption.
Examples of how we aim to repurpose and recycle leather
We’ve partnered with Alta Scuola di Pelletteria Italiana, a leather school based in Scandicci, Florence, and San Patrignano, an organisation supporting marginalised young people in the area, where our Burberry Manifattura site is located. The school has trained San Patrignano residents in leather goods disassembly and repurposing using excess Burberry materials to create different products.
We have funded a two-year research project with The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles & Apparel (HKRITA) to develop a system for leather goods recycling. The project concludes this year, with findings to be shared in early 2023.
Examples of how we aim to eliminate waste
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.
In FY20/21, we launched the ReBurberry Fabric programme in partnership with The British Fashion Council. The initiative enables us to donate leftover fabrics to fashion students and encourages the next generation to consider new ways of thinking about material sourcing. 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.