LONDON — Burberry is pumping up its environmental goals for 2040.
In addition to becoming carbon neutral by that year (a decade ahead of the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement) it is also pledging to become climate positive, meaning that it will be saving more greenhouse gas emissions than it is generating.
To that end, the brand is accelerating its ambitions to reduce carbon emissions across its supply chain. The aim is to reduce emissions by 46 percent, compared to its original goal of 30 percent, by 2030.
“Burberry was built upon a desire to explore nature and the great outdoors, and this remained our inspiration for more than 150 years. Drawing on this heritage, we are setting a bold new ambition and are united by our passion for being a force for good,” said the label’s chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti.
The company has been working toward this goal through its Burberry Regeneration Fund, which was established in 2020 to support carbon offsetting and insetting projects.
One of its first initiatives is a regenerative agriculture program in Australia, working with wool producers from the farm level to improve carbon capture in soils and to strengthen watershed and soil health.
In order to go beyond net-zero and achieve climate positive status, the company also aims to invest in “nature-based” projects, which restore natural ecosystems, remove carbon from the atmosphere and support communities around the world, through the Regeneration Fund.
It also plans to fund “climate resilience projects” and advocate for industry change in partnership with NGOs and policy makers.
One of the first organizations the company is supporting is Fashion Avengers, a group of global fashion organizations working together to promote the U.N. sustainable development goals. As part of the tie-in, Burberry will support Forest for Change, an installation created by the artist Es Devlin that’s set to be showcased at Somerset House to promote the U.N. global goals.
“I have always had a very deep, emotional connection to nature. It has a power and a purity that gives you a sense of coming back to yourself and of what is really important in life. I am so proud that as a company we are making these inspiring steps to protect our planet and the future for our next generations,” said Riccardo Tisci, the brand’s chief creative officer.
Burberry is among the first large-scale brands to make a climate positive pledge and by doing so the company’s aim is to set a “new industry standard.”
As the sustainability conversation becomes more urgent, more and more brands have been working toward offsetting their carbon emissions and setting net-zero targets since the start of 2021, but switching to a regenerative model and thinking about being carbon positive remains unexplored territory for many.
To date, the knitwear-focused start-up Sheep Inc. has been among the few brands to spearhead regenerative design and launch products that leave a positive planetary impact. Earlier this year Sheep Inc. designed a series of hoodies meant to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere than the company’s manufacturing creates.
De Beers, meanwhile, has established a Carbon Vault program that sees kimberlite, the rock that encases rough diamonds, absorb, and lock up, carbon emissions forever. De Beers believes the rock could eventually soak up 30 percent of the company’s carbon emissions, and in the future help the company to become carbon positive.