Burberry ends bonfire of the luxuries after waste outcry

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British luxury fashion group Burberry has stopped burning unsold products and will no longer use real fur and angora in its clothes, chief executive Marco Gobbetti revealed on September 6, 2018. (AFP)
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In this file photo taken on February 20, 2017 models present creations from the Burberry collection during a catwalk show on the fourth day of the Autumn/Winter 2017 London Fashion Week in London. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Burberry ends bonfire of the luxuries after waste outcry

  • “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” said CEO Marco Gobbetti
  • Many retailers have been called out in recent years for destroying unsold stock, including by slashing or punching holes in garments before throwing them out

LONDON: Britain’s Burberry will no longer burn unsold luxury goods to protect its brand after an admission that it destroyed almost $40 million worth of stock last year sparked a furor over waste in the fashion industry.
Burberry also said on Thursday it would no longer use real fur such as mink and racoon, in another step to improving its social and environmental credentials which was immediately welcomed by animal rights campaigners.
The waste revelation in July from Burberry came only months after the owner of Cartier and Montblanc admitted to destroying some of their unsold watches and coincides with growing public awareness of waste and its environmental impact.
“Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible,” said CEO Marco Gobbetti, who is in the process of taking Burberry, where coats sell for more than 2,500 pounds ($3,234) and handbags are priced at up to 1,500 pounds, more upmarket.
Many retailers have been called out in recent years for destroying unsold stock, including by slashing or punching holes in garments before throwing them out.
Richemont, owner of luxury watch brands, said it bought back unsold stock from dealers during a recent downturn and recycled the precious metals and stones that were in the high-end pieces.
Burberry physically destroyed 28.6 million pounds worth of finished goods in the financial year to April, up from 26.9 million pounds the previous year, including 10 million pounds worth of beauty products such as perfume.
The products are generally those that did not sell via discount outlets and are more than five years old. Burberry said it would try to reuse, repair, donate or recycle its products while a strategy to make fewer, more targeted collections should help reduce excess stock.
It is also working with the sustainable luxury company Elvis & Kresse to transform 120 tons of leather offcuts into new products over the next five years.

GROWING AWARENESS
Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca said Burberry’s announcement could put pressure on other luxury names to be more transparent about how they handle unsold goods.
“Concerns about sustainability are slowly but surely becoming more relevant for luxury goods consumers,” he said.
Some luxury groups also offer sales to employees and journalists to limit the amount of unsold stock. Both Kering , owner of Gucci and Alexander McQueen, and LVMH , owner of Louis Vuitton, Celine, Christian Dior and Givenchy, declined to comment.
In the mass market, major brands have also struggled to shift stock in a fast changing environment.
H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer after Inditex, has said in the past it burns stock, but only when it is damaged or, for example, has high levels of chemicals in it. At the end of May the Swedish group had $4 billon of unsold stock that it said it hoped to sell.
“Under no circumstances do we destroy clothes that are safe to use,” a spokeswoman said.
Burberry is following the likes of Versace, Gucci and the trailblazer for ethical fashion, Stella McCartney, in removing real fur from its ranges.
The moves are part of a series of changes at Burberry where Gobbetti is pinning his hopes on new designer Riccardo Tisci to transform the quintessentially British fashion house. Former Givenchy star Tisci has previously designed costumes for Beyonce and Madonna and releases his debut collection in September.
“We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products,” Gobbetti said.
PETA, the campaign group for the ethical treatment of animals, welcomed Burberry’s move to stop using fur, which it said was a sign of the times.
“The few fashion houses refusing to modernize and listen to the overwhelming public opinion against fur are now sticking out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons,” PETA’s director of international programs, Mimi Bekhechi said.
Campaign group Humane Society International said animal charities would unite during this year’s major fashion shows to call on Italian brand Prada to follow Burberry’s lead.
The head of the International Fur Federation, Mark Oaten, said substituting natural fur with “plastic petroleum-based materials, like fake fur” was neither luxury nor responsible. ($1 = 0.7736 pounds)


Mass tourism threatens Croatia’s ‘Game of Thrones’ town

Updated 21 September 2018
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Mass tourism threatens Croatia’s ‘Game of Thrones’ town

DUBROVNIK, Croatia: Marc van Bloemen has lived in the old town of Dubrovnik, a Croatian citadel widely praised as the jewel of the Adriatic, for decades, since he was a child. He says it used to be a privilege. Now it’s a nightmare.
Crowds of tourists clog the entrances to the ancient walled city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as huge cruise ships unload thousands more daily. People bump into each other on the famous limestone-paved Stradun, the pedestrian street lined with medieval churches and palaces, as fans of the popular TV series “Game of Thrones” search for the locations where it was filmed.
Dubrovnik is a prime example of the effects of mass tourism, a global phenomenon in which the increase in people traveling means standout sites — particularly small ones — get overwhelmed by crowds. As the numbers of visitors keeps rising, local authorities are looking for ways to keep the throngs from killing off the town’s charm.
“It’s beyond belief, it’s like living in the middle of Disneyland,” says van Bloemen from his house overlooking the bustling Old Harbor in the shadows of the stone city walls.
On a typical day there are about eight cruise ships visiting this town of 2,500 people, each dumping some 2,000 tourists into the streets. He recalls one day when 13 ships anchored here.
“We feel sorry for ourselves, but also for them (the tourists) because they can’t feel the town anymore because they are knocking into other tourists,” he said. “It’s chaos, the whole thing is chaos.”
The problem is hurting Dubrovnik’s reputation. UNESCO warned last year that the city’s world heritage title was at risk because of the surge in tourist numbers.
The popular Discoverer travel blog recently wrote that a visit to the historic town “is a highlight of any Croatian vacation, but the crowds that pack its narrow streets and passageways don’t make for a quality visitor experience.”
It said that the extra attention the city gets from being a filming location for “Game of Thrones” combines with the cruise ship arrivals to create “a problem of epic proportions.”
It advises travelers to visit other quaint old towns nearby: “Instead of trying to be one of the lucky ones who gets a ticket to Dubrovnik’s sites, try the delightful town of Ohrid in nearby Macedonia.”
In 2017, local authorities announced a “Respect the City” plan that limits the number of tourists from cruise ships to a maximum of 4,000 at any one time during the day. The plan still has to be implemented, however.
“We are aware of the crowds,” said Romana Vlasic, the head of the town’s tourist board.
But while on the one hand she pledged to curb the number of visitors, Vlasic noted with some satisfaction that this season in Dubrovnik “is really good with a slight increase in numbers.” The success of the Croatian national soccer team at this summer’s World Cup, where it reached the final, helped bring new tourists new tourists.
Vlasic said that over 800,000 tourists visited Dubrovnik since the start of the year, a 6 percent increase from the same period last year. Overnight stays were up 4 percent to 3 million.
The cruise ships pay the city harbor docking fees, but the local businesses get very little money from the visitors, who have all-inclusive packages on board the ship and spend very little on local restaurants or shops.
Krunoslav Djuricic, who plays his electric guitar at Pile, one of the two main entrances of Dubrovnik’s walled city, sees the crowds pass by him all day and believes that “mass tourism might not be what we really need.”
The tourists disembarking from the cruise ships have only a few hours to visit the city, meaning they often rush around to see the sites and take selfies to post to social media.
“We have crowds of people who are simply running,” Djuricic says. “Where are these people running to?“