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Burberry Group plc is a British luxury fashion house, manufacturing clothing, fragrance, and fashion accessories. Its distinctive tartan pattern has become one of its most widely copied trademarks. Burberry is most famous for its iconic trench coat, which was invented by founder Thomas Burberry. The company has branded stores and franchises around the world, and also sells through concessions in third-party stores. HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH The Prince of Wales have granted the company Royal Warrants.  The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index (LSE: BRBY).


Burberry was founded in 1856 when 21-year-old Thomas Burberry, a former draper's apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. By 1870, the business had established itself by focusing on the development of outdoors attire.  In 1880, Burberry introduced in his brand the gabardine, a hardwearing, water-resistant yet breathable fabric, in which the yarn is waterproofed before weaving.  Burberry was the original name, but then the company soon switched to using the name Burberrys, after many customers from around the world began calling it Burberrys of London. This name is still visible on many older Burberry products. In 1891, Burberry opened a shop in the Haymarket, London, which still exists and until recently was the site of Burberry's corporate headquarters. Now the headquarters are at Horseferry House just behind Houses of Parliament, Westminster (London).

In 1901, the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo was developed containing the Latin word "Prorsum", meaning forwards, and registered as a trademark.

Burberry strongly believes that to be a great brand it must also be a great company. This belief is reflected in its continued pursuit to improve Corporate Responsibility performance and to inspire employees around issues of ethics, social and environmental responsibility and community investment.

Since its foundation in 1856, Burberry has sought to achieve the very highest quality standards. This focus is an integral part of the brand and informs ongoing efforts to ensure that Burberry is recognized as much for operational excellence as it is for its luxury products. Putting Corporate Responsibility at the heart of Burberry's business practices is a key part of this philosophy, and speaks to the heritage and longevity of the brand as well as its pioneering spirit.

The following section describes Burberry's current approach to tackling these challenging issues, including some of their achievements in 2009/10.

Highlights of the Year 2009/ 2010

  • 30% increase in visits to product suppliers' factories over prior year to 634
  • Launched Sustainability Leaders Initiative across the business
  • Continued to reduce our CO2 emissions from the Group's buildings by a further 9% per 1,000 of turnover
  • Committed to purchasing 29% of all our UK electricity from Combined Heat and Power and renewable sources in 2010 calendar year

One of Burberry's five strategic themes is pursuing operational excellence. Operational excellence in CR has five key areas of focus:

  • Healthy business partnerships: based on shared values and high ethical standards
  • Excellent products and service: quality, craftsmanship, heritage and service standards
  • Environmental excellence: operating efficiently with minimum waste and maximum control
  • Excellence in people management: attracting and retaining talented employees
  • Contributing to society: investing and engaging in the communities where Burberry operates

For more information on Burberry's Corporate Responsibility ('CR') policies including its Ethical Trading Policy, performance and case studies, please visit the Corporate Responsibility section of www.burberryplc.com.



Burberry believes that its products should only be made in factories that comply with local labour and environmental laws and by workers who work fair but not excessive hours; are provided with a safe and hygienic work environment; and who can exercise their right to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

All Burberry suppliers are governed by its Ethical Trading Policy that sets clear expectations regarding issues like living wage, child labour and regular employment. Seven Burberry team members are charged with ensuring the implementation of the policy throughout the supply chain as their sole responsibility.

This policy is based upon internationally accepted codes, International Labour Organisation conventions and is published in full in the Corporate Responsibility section of www.burberryplc.com.

With periodic assistance from third-party auditors the team regularly visits factories to assess their performance related to Burberry's Ethical Trading Policy and develops factory improvement plans based on their findings. Follow-up visits are conducted to ensure that the plans have been implemented.

The majority of Burberry's products are manufactured in Europe through third-party suppliers. All new Burberry suppliers, regardless of location, must be approved by the Corporate Responsibility team prior to production taking place.

Burberry is a founding member of the BSR Luxury Brands working group. The group was established to explore common approaches to collectively address material Corporate Responsibility issues specific to the luxury sector like the use of exotic skins. The Group is currently developing an animal welfare policy for working group members.


Working closely with Burberry teams, suppliers are demonstrating their increasing commitment to compliance by actively participating in capacity building programmes such as management system development, productivity enhancement and worker rights training. These programmes improve worker-management relationships, improve production processes and empower workers and management to resolve problems jointly.

In 2009, the Company launched its Corporate Responsibility Handbook. The Handbook, distributed to suppliers by the Burberry Chief Operations Officer, provides additional detail and guidance to assist suppliers with integrating their policies into their management systems.


Burberry strives to achieve the highest quality standards in all components and stages of its supply chain process.

Burberry recognizes that its responsibility does not end at the first tier supplier and subcontractor level of the supply chain. The Company has been working to address issues deeper in the supply chain including raw materials like leather, fur and cotton.


Burberry joined the BLC Leather Working Group in order to have a clearer understanding of the environmental impact of tanneries, investigate the possibility of hide traceability and collaborate with other brands and tanneries to improve environmental standards within the leather industry. Burberry supports the working group's efforts to ensure the preservation of the Amazon Biome (rainforest).


As a company with a strong outerwear heritage, there has been, and will continue to be, occasions where consumer tastes demand the use of natural hides.

Burberry will not use natural hides if there is any concern that it has been produced using unacceptable treatment of animals. They source natural hides very carefully, safeguarding the correct ethical standards and traceability. Specifically, they source fur from furriers who are well known for upholding high standards of ethical treatment of animals and share their concerns about animal welfare.

Burberry believes in the accurate labelling of all garments containing fur, to clearly inform consumers about the product prior to their purchase. As a result Burberry is a signatory to the US government's Truth In Fur Labelling Act.

Strong environmental performance is important to Burberry employees, customers and future generations and is good for business as it ultimately improves efficiency and leads to cost savings. Burberry's most critical environmental sustainability impact areas include carbon emissions (linked to energy use, travel and distribution network), solid waste and packaging materials (linked to shipping, marketing and sales).

Burberry established a Global Sustainability Committee in 2009 which meets quarterly. On the committee every region or function of the business is represented by a nominated Sustainability Leader.

Burberry regularly communicates its revised Global Environmental Policy to all vendors and integrates environmental best practices directly into our Non-Stock Procurement procedures and contractual negotiations.


The Burberry Human Resources team continue to drive people excellence with the focus being to recruit, retain and develop world class employees around the world, to deliver extraordinary results in the service of the Brand.

A commitment to diversity and respect for all is a key foundation underlying the Burberry culture and its success as a global luxury brand.

  • Burberry's global nature is reflected not only through its geographic footprint, but also through its workforce. In the global headquaters at Horseferry House, Burberry employs nationals of 39 different countries from the five continents.
  • Women make up a large part of the workforce in all parts of the organisation, from its manufacturing sites through to its headquarters (70% women). Burberry was acknowledged for this diversity at the 2010 Opportunity Now Awards where the Company won the 'Female FTSE 100 Award' as well as the 'FTSE Executive Women Award'.
  • The Burberry brand captures the energy of youth and is underpinned by its values protect, explore and inspire. Burberry's workforce encompasses the digital generation and experienced craftsmen and women. In the 2009 Long Service Awards, the Company recognised service up to 45 years.


  • Recruitment: Successful implementation and roll out of Burberry's global careers website has attracted over 20,000 applications for roles in the Company this year.
  • Organisational Development: Continued evolution and development of the organisation has enabled the Group to continue to ensure its infrastructure and capability is able to deliver both the growth agenda in line with the key strategic themes and the business efficiencies Burberry is committed to.
  • Leadership Development: Design, development and delivery of a new leadership programme targeting 100 high-potential managers identified in all areas of the business and regions. This leadership programme is developing an internal pipeline of world-class talent to provide future leaders for the business. Leadership capabilities are developed through mentoring, personal development plans, one to one coaching, worldwide events and workshops, and international mobility.
  • Meeting structures: At the outset of 2009/10, Burberry established a robust meeting structure to improve meeting effectiveness and enhance internal communications and alignment:
  • Executive Operations Committee: Oversight of overall performance of Burberry and major cross business issues
  • Monthly Management Reviews: Review of operational performance, outlook and budgets
  • Management Update Forum: Discussion of product, corporate and regional performance by senior leadership
  • Global Quarterly Update: Communication of key strategies as well as product, corporate and regional performance to the whole Company


Following the success of the Burberry Experience sales and service pilot training programme during 2008/09, an enhanced program has been rolled out to mainline stores and concessions this year. Led by the Service and Productivity teams at Corporate and in the Regions, more than 1,800 retail store employees have been trained this year. The training programme has been designed for and delivered to all retail staff to ensure that the customer experience is in line with Burberry's brand standards and luxury positioning.

The evaluation of the effectiveness of the training is ongoing, and has shown positive results and improvements in levels of service being delivered to our customers globally. The training continues to be enhanced and extended to improve leadership skills and productivity. The Burberry Experience will continue to be rolled out to new markets where Burberry operates globally.

The Burberry Foundation

A key extension of the tradition of philanthropy at the Company, the Burberry Foundation (UK registered charity no. 1123102) provides a strategic platform for Burberry's community engagement and builds charitable giving in its regions.

Established in 2008, the Foundation is a philanthropic organization dedicated to helping young people realise their dreams and potential through the power of their creativity. The Foundation's goals are to help young people to:

  • gain confidence in their daily lives and develop self-esteem
  • build connections to their families, friends, partners and society at large
  • develop the ability to reach for opportunities in school, work and life

The Burberry Foundation's grant making is focused on supporting innovative programmes and building sustainable partnerships that leverage the Company's assets and combine financial support with the knowledge, creativity and dedication of Burberry employees.

The Foundation receives donations from Burberry and other benefactors to award strategic grants and make targeted donations of in-kind gifts. In 2009/10, the Group's donations to the Burberry Foundation amounted to 800,000 in cash and more than 150,000 in-kind. These contributions enabled the Foundation to support charities in Boston, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seoul

For a list of charities supported by the Burberry Foundation, or for further information, please see www.burberryfoundation.org

Learn more about Burberry from the following links:

International Burberry

USA Burberry

Learn about the Burberry Plaid.

As a reminder, you can discuss Burberry product or the company at the Burberry Group section on the Fashion Industry Network.


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