Burberry to stop using real fur and end destruction of 'unsaleable products'

Burberry has confirmed it will no longer use real fur in any of its products (Jonathan Brady/PA) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Luxury fashion house Burberry will no longer use real fur, it has announced.

The company also said it will stop destroying “unsaleable products” with immediate effect.

The British brand said there will be no real fur in its collection presented later this month, adding that it will phase out existing fur products.

Burberry’s showcase at London Fashion Show on September 17 will be the debut collection for the brand’s new chief creative officer, former Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci.

The use of real fur by Burberry has been restricted for many years to rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic racoon.

These and angora will be banned from future Burberry collections.

Burberry said: “We already re-use, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products and we will continue to expand these efforts.

“At Burberry, we are passionate about driving positive change. Our responsibility goals cover the entire footprint of our operations and extend to the communities around us.”

Chief executive Marco Gobbetti said: “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible. This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success.

“We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products.”

The company said it is passionate about “driving positive change”, and in May 2018 it became a core partner of the Make Fashion Circular Initiative convened by the Ellen McArthur Foundation.

Burberry burnt products, totalling £28.6 million in value, including £10.4 million of beauty items, over the past year, according to detail in its annual report.

At the time, Burberry said it only destroyed items that carried its trademark and only worked with specialist companies which were able to harness the energy from the process.

The company said it had careful processes in place to minimise the amount of excess stock it produces.

It said the destruction of cosmetic items was a one-off related to the licence agreed with beauty company Coty last year.

Destroying products has become common practice for the industry, with retailers describing it as a measure to protect intellectual property and prevent illegal counterfeiting by ensuring the supply chain remains intact.

Burberry’s clothing is priced at the high end of fashion retail, with men’s polo shirts selling for as much as £250 and its famous trench coats costing around £1,500.

Mimi Bekhechi, director of international programmes for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said “cartwheels are happening at Peta HQ” following the announcement, adding that the decision is “a sign of the times”.

She said: “The few fashion houses refusing to modernise and listen to the overwhelming public opinion against fur are now sticking out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons.

“If they want to stay relevant in a changing industry, they have no choice but to stop using fur stolen from animals for their coats, collars, and cuffs.”

Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International UK, said: “HSI first met with Burberry almost a decade ago to urge the brand to drop fur, so we are delighted that this iconic British fashion giant is finally going fur-free.

“Most British consumers don’t want anything to do with the cruelty of fur, and so this is absolutely the right decision by this quintessentially British brand.”