Do you guys remember the 3 R’s of conserving the environment? There’s REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE, right?
Seems simple enough, right?
Clothing brand Burberry did not get this message as it was found out that they burned around $38 million dollars worth of clothing last year.
This decision has come under heavy criticism from the public and shareholders alike.
According to its annual report, the London-based company destroyed millions of dollars worth of its own products. More than a third of these were from the beauty products inventory.
The public was appalled by this utter waste of resources and outraged at the explanation the company provided.
Apparently, this was done to protect their intellectual property and to keep the value of the products up by preventing them from going into the so-called ‘gray market’, also known as the counterfeiting market.
Okay. Let’s take a moment to unpack that sentiment.
They are basically saying that if high-end buyers won’t buy their products within a certain period, they would rather burn them than donate them or repurpose them or literally any other option.
What’s worse is that Burberry is hardly the only company that does this.
Brands like Richemont, Nike, and even H&M has come under fire for doing the same as early as 2010.
It really makes one wonder exactly how much companies value the so-called luxury goods they sell.
In a world where the wealth gap between the richest and the poorest are increasing, the environment is getting worse, and resources are becoming more scarce, high-end fashion companies like Burberry would rather burn their own products than let them be put to any other use.
What’s more, this idea that burning prevents counterfeiting is simply wrong.
What’s stopping someone from buying one legally and making knock-offs of that?
In any case, this whole controversy has been a great learning experience for most people in that they began learning about such practices within the fashion industry.
Perhaps with enough criticism, these big companies can finally move on from grossly wasteful practices like this one and aim for a more ethical and environmentally conscious way of doing business.
Header Image Source: Fashionista