Luxury fashion brands are failing to show respect for the environment and the natural resources that are used to make them, a leading expert at Greenpeace has said following news that British brand, Burberry burned fashion and beauty products worth £28.6m in its last financial year.
It is understood that the burning of luxury goods in the industry is widespread. The practice, which has no regard for the environment whatsoever, is carried out by fashion businesses in order to prevent unwanted items to fall into the hands of counterfeiters or find their way onto other shelves or websites.
Burberry claims the procedure of burning luxury goods carries “an energy benefit to limit the environmental impact”.
In an interview with Sky News, Dr Kirsten Brodde, who leads the Detox my Fashion Campaign at the environmental group Greenpeace, said: “Despite their luxury price tag, Burberry shows no respect for its own products and the hard work and natural resources that are used to make them.
“The growing volumes of overstock point to overproduction, and instead of slowing down production, Burberry is incinerating perfectly new clothes and products.
“This is the fashion industry’s dirty secret, with Burberry just the tip of the iceberg.
“From luxury to discount, current fashion production is focused on economic growth, churning out unsustainable quantities of clothes. This inevitably leads to growing mountains of fashion waste.
“While the whole industry is now calling for a circular economy, claiming this will eliminate its apparent waste problem, this is not a solution.
“Instead, it is high time to step on the brakes, slow down the production of goods that are not even needed and rethink our obsession with economic growth.”
The latest move by Burberry is evident that it and fashion brands like it are failing to “walk their talk” as far as the environment is concerned. Burberry recently joined a growing effort to boost recycling of clothing and waste from cut-offs, but its recent action contradicts such efforts.
Mike Childs, from Friends of the Earth, said: “Burning clothes is a shocking waste of resources, showing no regard for people in the UK who have to scour charity shops to put a shirt on their back, nor to the millions overseas living in poverty.
“Time and time again parts of the fashion industry is exposed as having little concern for the welfare of the planet or the poorest people on it.
“The industry has to come clean on its practices and clean up its act.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea