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Burberry announces biodiversity strategy at COP26

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

7 Nov 2021

Business

Image: courtesy of Burberry by Ewen Spencer

British heritage fashion brand Burberry has stated it will take action to “protect, restore and regenerate nature” as it builds on its climate positive commitment with a new biodiversity strategy unveiled at COP26.

The biodiversity strategy builds upon its recent commitment to become Climate Positive by 2040 and will expand the scope of its current initiatives by applying a nature-based approach in its own value chain and in areas of greatest need beyond its operations to help slow further global warming as part of the transition towards the 1.5°C pathway set out in the Paris Agreement.

Dr Gerry Murphy, chair of Burberry, said in a statement: “Climate change is not just a future environmental risk, it’s a socio-economic crisis that is impacting millions around the world today. Protecting, restoring and regenerating nature is key to safeguarding the planet for generations to come, and we must be ambitious in our intentions and action-oriented in our approach.

“Burberry’s biodiversity strategy will not only address impacts in our own extended operations, but also help to create new systems to reduce biodiversity loss in the world’s greatest areas of need, making a meaningful contribution to global conservation efforts.”

The biodiversity strategy focuses on three areas: to protect and restore nature within and beyond Burberry’s own value chain through projects supported via the Burberry Regeneration Fund; to expand support for farming communities by intensifying existing efforts around farm-level certifications and training where Burberry sources raw materials; and developing regenerative supply chains, applying regenerative and holistic land management practices to grazing or farming systems.

Image: courtesy of Burberry by Ewen Spencer

Burberry looking to reduce its impact on biodiversity with new sustainable strategy

Burberry has partnered with The Biodiversity Consultancy to identify its biggest impact areas through completing a biodiversity baseline assessment. This highlighted that leather, cashmere, and wool had the most significant impact on biodiversity and accounted for a high proportion of Burberry’s carbon footprint.

To reduce its own impact, Burberry stated that it will apply Nature Based Solution Principles and Guidelines that it has developed in partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy by funding projects via its Regeneration Fund, ensuring natural ecosystems are protected, restored and regenerated.

For its inaugural insetting project, Burberry is partnering with PUR Projet to implement a regenerative agricultural programme with wool producers in Australia. The project works at farm level to improve carbon capture in soils, strengthen watershed and soil health and promote biodiverse habitats.

Burberry partners with The Biodiversity Consultancy for sustainability

Beyond its value chain, Burberry added that it has become the first luxury brand to sign up to the LEAF Coalition with an investment in what is expected to become the world’s largest public-private initiative providing results-based finance to countries committed to making ambitious reductions in tropical deforestation.

In addition, it will also reduce its own impact on biodiversity through sourcing more sustainable key raw materials and ensuring key materials are traceable, certified or recycled by 2025. While through a partnership with the Savory Institute’s Land to Market programme, Burberry will facilitate the regeneration of the world’s grasslands in the leather supply chain and the livelihoods of their inhabitants.

All its plans are aligned to The Biodiversity Consultancy’s ARRRT framework to avoid, reduce, restore and regenerate, and transform.