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Burberry Case: Burning of Unrealized Stock

The fashion industry is almost always associated with various scandals involving specific products, advertising campaigns, or corporations’ actions in general. Unfortunately, such companies often produce expensive branded items and resort to wholly insane and illogical measures in their policies. It is what Burberry did, sending a massive amount of its unrealized stock to be burned. This paper aims to analyze the Burberry case, investigate the reasons for what is happening, and develop alternative methods.

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Such a policy is often pursued due to one factor – the brand’s exclusivity, its high and elite position in the market. According to companies’ logic, if such products are sold at a reduced price and made available to a broad audience, the brand will lose its exclusivity and appeal to wealthy patrons. Besides, companies make extensive use of laws that protect their rights and allow refunds to import unused goods (Pinnock, 2018). However, the destruction of vast quantities of absolutely functional things is unacceptable, so alternative methods must be developed.

Naturally, the simplest solution is to reduce production, but precisely because of its simplicity, this method is not widely used by branded corporations. In this case, it is possible to implement recycling through various charitable foundations by donating surplus products to a good cause. Firstly, involvement in charity has a positive effect on the image of almost any company in any field of activity. Secondly, such a solution will benefit the company itself and many people who otherwise would never have access to branded items. Finally, such charity can also be implemented to raise the status of people with disabilities, allowing all parties to benefit from the current situation.

However, it is unlikely that any methods will be able to prevent the destruction of surplus goods. In this case, measures to recycle existing products can be introduced. First, the materials need to be converted more efficiently, as they are being incinerated at the moment. Although it involves the generation of energy, the current destruction method gives energy many times less than the cost of creating a similar product (Lieber, 2018). Secondly, it is necessary to change the composition of clothing, which now consists mainly of polyester and various additives that, when burned, are released into the air, polluting the environment. In addition to synthesized materials, natural, animal elements, leather, and fur are also used to manufacture many things (Pinnock, 2018). Thus, killing animals for the sake of substances becomes unjustified, since the resulting resource is destroyed. Therefore, it is necessary to discontinue the usage of such materials, and the existing synthetic compounds should be made as environmentally friendly as possible.

All of the above methods used by companies are subordinated to one goal: maintaining the firm’s exclusivity. Without a doubt, the often more expensive items have higher quality materials and artistry. Nevertheless, the entire industry is currently subordinated to creating a false desire to continually purchase new things that people do not need (Street-Porter, 2018). Society, of course, requires more expensive and better-quality clothing, but not in the quantity in which branded factories produce it. Unfortunately, the practice described above is expected not only for Burberry but also for many well-known companies – for example, Louis Vuitton, Nike, H&M (Lieber, 2018). Cases similar to the Burberry case happen all the time but rarely get publicity. It shows how problematic the economic industry of branded stores is, how such companies foster consumer attitudes towards their products. This situation leads to an accelerated waste of the planet’s limited resources, increasing the scale of environmental pollution, which ultimately harms all people.

Thus, the Burberry situation vividly highlights the current branding industry’s problems and exposes both this company and many others like it. Destruction of finished products is unacceptable from the point of view of the waste of resources. Therefore, it is necessary to develop alternative methods for the disposal of unsold raw materials. Besides, the current brand-centered economic environment requires careful attention and policy change action.


Lieber, C. (2018). Why fashion brands destroy billions’ worth of their own merchandise every year. Vox. Web. 

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Pinnock, O. (2018). No one in fashion is surprised Burberry burnt £28 million of stock. Forbes. Web. 

Street-Porter, J. (2018). Burberry burning £28m of stock is awful, yes, but fashion has never been ethical. The Independent. Web. 

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