Interview of Thomas de Lacey (Administrative Assistant at Burberry)
Dami: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. By way of background, I am currently researching how we can reduce the environmental impact of fast fashion by most effectively raising awareness of the harmful effect of the fast fashion industry on the environment. As my first question, have you heard of the term ‘sustainable clothing’ or ‘sustainable fashion’, and if yes, what are your views on it?
Thomas: good morning Dami so burberry approach is they really want to drive towards sustainability and they’re doing this through different goals into split into three areas so products company and community and product to drive positive change through all of their products with the company they want to become carbon neutral and reevaluating waste and the community they want to positively impact People In the areas that we live and work in.
Dami: What is Burberry’s approach to the environment or sustainability in its business?
Thomas: so one of the main products we are known for our heritage trench coats and it’s one of our most grossly marketed product and that’s really wants to start with product innovation so made with cotton source through the better cotton initiative Focuses on making more sustainable and less resource-intensive to produce procure 100% of our customers from sustainable sources we’re manufacturing in Yorkshire obviously and actually at carbon-neutral facilities so both the burymill in Keighley and the garment factory in Castleford completely carbon neutral we aim to achieve zero carbon footprint by improving energy efficiency reducing absolute consumption and switching to renewable energy sources before offsetting any remaining emissions and then sold with aftercare service to extend the life of our trench coats obviously what are the key themes is really being buying products that we can sustain over the years and years and so repair together with reuse and recycle is one of the core principles of the circular economy and helps prolong the life of the product. Our Heritage scarfs on the infection Scotland using 100% renewable electricity zero-waste approaches taken throughout the production of our scarves and supporting cashmere goat herders in Mongolia to adopt more sustainable practices so through the sustainable fibre alliance we aim to promote a global sustainable standard for Catherine products in order to preserve and restore grasslands enable animal welfare and secure livelihoods when it comes to luxury leather goods we’re supporting sustainable Tamarisk across all I’ll ever Productions we work into avoided deforestation associated with the leather procurement we have a policy in place to not source leather from cattle raised in the amazonian buying in line with our commitment to avoid deforestation chin and Forest degradation associated with the source sourcing of leather innovation partnerships and minimise waste we work with Elvis and kresse to upcycle leather offcuts into luxury leather goods profits from the sales of products go to charitable causes we have innovation and sustainable materials so we use recycled polyester which includes various of sources including plastic bottles industrial policy this material appears in several products across both menswear and womenswear including our reversible vintage check recycled polyester jacket bio-based materials on runway eyewear is made from bio-based and acetate to drive from renewable vegetation based resources we have something called eco nylon which is recycled out where we launched the collection made from sustainable nylon and it’s from regenerated fishing nets fabric scraps and industrial plastic regeneration system starts with rescuing from landfills and oceans all over the world that wasted then sorted and cleaned in to recover all the Nylon possible this means the material is our products including our most popular monogram capsule can be recycled recreated and remolded without even having to use new resources reducing carbon emissions by up to 80% conventional nylon is made from fossil fuels so eco nylon vastly reduces the carbon footprint at the raw material stage of the product life cycle in comparison to conventional nylon.
Dami: Has Burberry had or currently have any related initiatives or campaigns?
Thomas: so just some other interesting points whatever is doing is so our packaging is actually fully recyclable and made from 40% recycled coffee cups so 95% of paper coffee cup is recycled into papers using on packaging with the reigning 5% used to energy recovery the resulting product is fully recyclable and certified by the forest stewardship Council fsc we’re committed to eliminating problematic unnecessary plastic packaging work against climate change collaborating with the luxury industry to establish a long-term change we are working with our peers in the fashion industry to leave the fight for climate change tackling climate change to the UN fashion industry charter for climate action and the fashion pack signed at the 2019 G7 summit in biazzi carbon neutral goals we are committed to happy and carbon neutral in our own operations by 2022 and across our entire value chain by 2050 today we are proud to say that we are now carbon neutral in several areas of the business including America’s and they are retail UK manufacturing and a largest office or three house we are promoting the use of clean renewable sources to employees and across our supply chain.
Dami: What effects (if any) do you think those initiatives and campaigns have had and do you think that other high-end fashion brands have similar attitudes towards sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices? And why?
Thomas: Burberry really does want to bring the customers attention the use of sustainability and products so we actually had a pistachio coloured label tickets on mostly nearly all about products that are recyclable and renewable especially the eco nylon really to give visibility to the customer how it was produced where it was produced what are the important topics that was on the McKinsey report on the key trends are going to drive consumers was sustainability and also the transparency of how the garment was produced where and using what and that’s one of the things that we really want to bring to your attention is that the with the pistachio tags that gives a lot of information about how this was produced what was produced in this garment and it’s still very high luxury quality which is brilliant because it really give that longevity is a customer also bringing those clients in that are interested on the transparency the government and sustainability do you think other high-end fashion brands of similar attitudes I’m not too familiar with what other fashion brands are doing but I know that a lot of them are leaning toward the trends I mean Stella McCartney is very well known for its sustainability I think that’s one of the reasons why I get such gravitas is because of its key identification of needing to lead their business was a stain ability and it’s a promotion really really positive attitude towards clients so but I do think more businesses are now starting to become more eco-friendly I’m not a huge knowledgeable about which brands are doing what but I know that they are catering towards these clients because it is becoming more of a you know has two convention of your practices and your on your supply chain.
Dami: In your opinion, will lower-end fast fashion brands follow suit and will it set a trend?
Thomas: I think once sustainability and organic practices become much more cost-efficient I think that’s the main problem with low and fashion brands is you are driven by your margins in a very competitive market and with Corona that’s only hyped and the decider people aren’t buying fast fashion currently like that they’re buying those limited pieces those longevity pieces and the problem is is it’s so difficult for a low and fashion brands to meet those margins were also catering to a higher cost higher and higher material base raw material and it really does eat into their margins and if they can’t find a way to find a supplier find a supply chain route that means that they can still see their margins while producing at a you know sustainable level it’s very difficult but at the same time we seeing that are there such a rise in consumer sustainability survey really do have to adapt but it’s whether they can find the right key in the right supply chain in order to meet the demand that the margin is so important is only from driving the money and with Corona at the moment brick-and-mortar stores are making barely anything I think if you’re in e-commerce business you really need to focus on your your e-commerce website have friend is with the customer the whole customer journey and really focus on that and focus on your supply chain whilst you’re brick-and-mortar stores obviously not making lots you’ve got to really think about your finances because you know in Corona x even a Burberry with seeing a huge Decline and football clients are still coming out of buying but it’s no way near I mean everybody is down to a huge amount of revenue right now e-commerce is really driving it on the channel is important right now so that we may answer to that.