Ian Brimicombe is Senior Vice President of Group Finance at Burberry Group, leading Group Financial Reporting, Group FP&A, Corporate Finance and Finance Transformation. As SVP, Ian plays an important role in defining and driving the ESG Finance agenda at Burberry, supporting its commitment to building not only a financially stronger business but also a better company that is a force for good in the world.

What is ESG and how does it relate to your role?

Burberry’s commitment to ESG-related matters is the purest expression of our purpose and values. We are committed to building not only a financially stronger Burberry but also a better company that is a force for good in the world.

Over the past year, we have focused on three areas:

  1. Creating the conditions for creativity to thrive by championing diversity and inclusion and ensuring the wellbeing of our people
  2. Supporting our communities, and particularly young people, by providing them with the skills, confidence and opportunities to succeed
  3. Creating a more sustainable future for luxury by reducing our environmental impacts and helping transform our industry

Disclosure plays a key role in driving meaningful change. By learning from others and sharing our progress, we can help drive accountability, for ourselves and for our industry.

On 10 June 2021, Burberry set a bold new sustainability ambition, becoming first luxury brand to pledge to become Climate Positive by 2040, going further than its current 2040 net-zero target by investing in key initiatives to support wider climate change efforts beyond its value chain.

Underpinning this pledge is a series of commitments Burberry will achieve on its journey to Climate Positive. This includes cutting emissions across its extended supply chain by 46% by 2030 and developing projects which support others in their own carbon journeys.

My role is to support the ESG agenda with particular attention on the Governance pillar,  disclosure under TCFD recommendations and the use of £300m proceeds raised via the Sustainability Bond to invest in green buildings, responsibly sourced cotton and sustainable packaging.

Why is it important?

Burberry’s commitment to sustainability is longstanding, grounded in the belief that for our future growth we need to actively address the challenges facing the fashion and luxury industry and the world in which we operate. We are dedicated to reducing our environmental footprint and enabling social progress. Recognising the power of working collaboratively to drive real change, we often work with our peers, sector experts and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to achieve our ambitions. Our ESG activity is aligned to the Paris Climate Agreement and informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Where in the ESG journey are you and how can companies improve their ESG performance?

In 2017, we launched our current Responsibility agenda, comprising a series of ambitious targets to 2022 across our Product, Company and Communities. The strategy, developed in collaboration with global innovators and key stakeholders, aims to address the most material social and environmental impacts along our value chain.

Details of our targets and performance in each area are included in our Annual Report FY2021 published on 2 June 2021.

On 10th June we announced our commitment to be Climate Positive by 2040. This includes cutting emissions across our extended supply chain by 46% by 2030 and developing projects which support others in their own carbon journeys.

We recommend that companies integrate ESG into strategy and objectives into measurable targets with executive pay contingent on outcomes.

What are the next steps?

We aim to be Net-Zero by 2040 and achieve carbon neutrality in our own operational energy use by 2022. We are on track to achieve this by reducing absolute emissions, improving energy efficiency and switching to renewable electricity sources, before offsetting any remaining emissions.

Our latest commitment is to become Climate Positive by 2040, going further than the current 2040 net-zero target, by investing in key initiatives to support wider climate change efforts beyond our value chain.

Written by

Ian Brimicombe

Ian Brimicombe is Senior Vice President of Group Finance at Burberry Group.

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