Coach named and shamed for slashing ‘unwanted’ designer bags
Environmental activist Anna Sacks has called out Coach for contradicting sustainability policy.
In a TikTok video (that went viral), Sacks accused luxury accessory and clothing company Coach of purposefully slashing and throwing out unsellable goods. The brand has now announced via their website that they will “cease destroying” returned merchandise as part of its commitment to sustainability.
Destroying merchandise has become common practice in the fashion industry. The practice is done for several reasons, mainly that excess merchandise can be destroyed after it’s taken off the shelves to encourage shoppers to buy new styles and keep items exclusive, Vox reported.
In 2018, Burberry destroyed $36.8 million of its excess merchandise. After calls to boycott the London-based brand, the policy was changed.
In 2019, destroying unsold merchandise was outlawed in France, where many upscale fashion houses have flagship stores. At the time, it was estimated that $730 million worth of returned, damaged or excess products were intentionally ruined in the country each year by retailers aiming to maintain exclusivity.
In a statement, Coach said: ‘At Coach, we are committed to leading with purpose and embracing our responsibility as a global fashion brand to effect real and lasting change for our industry.
‘We have now ceased destroying in-store returns of damaged, defective and otherwise unsalable goods and are dedicated to maximizing such products reuse in our Coach (Re)Loved and other circularity programs. The damaged product that was being destroyed in stores, represents approximately 1 per cent of units globally.
‘The vast majority of our excess inventory is donated and, in FY21, we donated product valued at over $55 million to support low-income families, individuals in need, those re-entering the workforce and education programs.
‘We continue to make significant strides and have been developing and implementing solutions to responsibly repurpose, recycle, or reuse excess or damaged products.’
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